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U.S. AGRICULTURAL ESTIMATES 



U.S.DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE 
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY 



CURRENT SERIAL RECORDS 




u 





Miscellaneous Publication No. 1088 /U.S. Department of Agriculture / Statistical Reporting Service 



THE STORY 

OF 

U.S. AGRICULTURAL ESTIMATES 



Prepared by the 
Statistical Reporting Service 






Miscellaneous Publication No. 1088 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 









Washington, D.C. 20250 April 1969 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, D.C. 20402 Price $1.75 (paper cover) 



FOREWORD 



Throughout the history of the United States 
there has been need for reliable and timely 
information on the agriculture of the Nation. 
In the early days of the young Republic, the 
concern centered largely on obtaining infor- 
mation on better farming methods and results 
obtained from different cultural practices in 
terms of greater yield. 

Requirements for information changed as 
the frontier pushed further inland, as manu- 
facturing began to move from the farm to 
shops and factories with the inevitable devel- 
opment of a consuming population, and as the 
need for a more effective marketing system 
evolved. Farmers everywhere were being 
pushed into the long and painful shift from 
subsistence to commercial agriculture. Grad- 
ually demand developed for more specific sta- 
tistics that would serve the needs of the 
marketplace and guide national policy. 

The first part of this chronicle, covering the 
period between Washington and Lincoln, is a 
summary of the efforts of early leaders to ob- 
tain information about the farms of the new 
Republic. Out of their efforts evolved several 
ideas and schemes for collection of current sta- 
tistical information; some of them were the 
basis for the methods employed in the early 
efforts to provide a regular crop reporting 
service. This part of the story was prepared 
by Walter H. Ebling, who served as Statisti- 
cian for Wisconsin from 1927 until he retired 
in 1960. 

The second part of the story covers the pe- 
riod from the establishment of the Department 
of Agriculture in 1862 to about 1905, i.e., from 
Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt. This may be 
characterized as the "founding period" of the 
Crop and Livestock Reporting Service (later 
the Statistical Reporting Service). The pro- 
gram found its footing; overall policies and 
objectives were crystallized, and an operating 
organization was shaped and reshaped. It was 
during this period that the long time series of 
statistics of crop and livestock production were 



started, marking the beginning of a century 
of continuous statistical service to agriculture 
and the Nation. Emerson M. Brooks wrote 
the section of this book that covers the found- 
ing period. Brooks began work with the Crop 
Reporting Service in 1933, and was on the 
headquarters staff of the Administrator of 
SRS when this history was prepared. 

The next 40 years or so saw an accelerating 
emphasis upon more efficient production for 
the market. New tools and new machines 
marked the decline of horse and mule power 
and reduction in manpower needed to provide 
food and fiber for the Nation. These changes, 
together with population growth, the develop- 
ment of great urban areas, and the require- 
ments for a marketing system to distribute 
the food to these areas, exerted an increasing 
demand for more comprehensive, more pre- 
cise, and more timely information on supplies 
of food. A great depression and two world 
wars stimulated the need for agricultural sta- 
tistics. 

Beginning around 1940 a new trend in ag- 
riculture began to be recognized and was ac- 
centuated by the exigencies of World War II. 
Agribusiness became a popular word to denote 
the common interests of the farm and the busi- 
ness enterprises dependent upon the farm. A 
natural development of this concept was inte- 
gration of functions. Vertical integration of 
agriculture typifies the most recent trend. 
With this development the problems of meet- 
ing the needs for agricultural statistics have 
become more complex. Users have become 
more sophisticated. With the increase in 
size of enterprise and greater investment 
of capital, business decisions have become 
more critical. The Statistical Report- 
ing Service is now called upon for greater 
accuracy and more detailed statistics as a 
basis for these decisions. S. R. Newell pre- 
pared the history of the period from 1905 to 
1966. W. F. Callander, long-time Chief of the 
Crop and Livestock Reporting Service and 



in 



Chairman of the Crop Reporting Board, did a 
great deal of research and prepared volum- 
inous notes that were a great help in the task 
of completing the story. 

Personnel files in the National Archives 
provided a mine of useful material. Letters, 
speeches, comments, and papers written by 
participants for various purposes, and usually 
not considered at the time as documents of 
historical significance, were equally useful. In 
addition to these sources, Newell drew heav- 
ily on his close association with the crop and 
livestock estimating program since the early 
1920's. His contribution was prepared after his 
retirement as Chairman of the Crop Report- 
ing Board in 1966. 

Wayne D. Rasmussen and Vivian Wiser of 
the Agricultural History Branch, Economic 



Research Service, were most generous in pro- 
viding guidance, furnishing materials from 
their files, and assisting with the manuscript 
and the format. Emerson M. Brooks made 
many suggestions and helped in the final or- 
ganization of the book. Joseph A. Becker and 
Charles E. Gage contributed by providing 
Newell with firsthand information on many 
episodes in the history of the Service. 

This volume does not deal with the techni- 
cal aspects of the Statistical Reporting Service 
as it is presently operated. For a complete 
discussion of this aspect of the service see 
"Statistical Reporting Service of the U.S. De- 
partment of Agriculture — Scope and Methods," 
U.S.D.A. Miscellaneous Publication No. 967, 
1964, 234 pages. 




/J*L 



Harry C. Trelogan 
Administrator 



IV 



CONTENTS 

Page 

PART I. EARLY EFFORTS TO GATHER AGRICULTURAL 

STATISTICS, 1781-1861 1 

Prologue 1 

Chapter 1. Evolution of Agricultural Data Systems 2 

PART II. THE FOUNDING PERIOD, 1862 to 1905 16 

Prologue 16 

Chapter 2. A Beginning Is Made, 1862-65 18 

Chapter 3. Regular Reports Are Established, 1866-81 29 

Chapter 4. An Era of Progress, 1882-93 34 

Chapter 5. A Decade of Confusion 1894-1905 39 

PART III. A PERIOD OF GROWTH, 1905-30 _. 48 

Prologue 48 

Chapter 6. Crop Reporting from 1905 Through World War I 50 

Chapter 7. Post World War I— The Decade of the 1920's 65 

PART IV. AN ERA OF TURBULENT EXPANSION, 1930-66 76 

Prologue 76 

Chapter 8. A New Era Starts with Henry A. Wallace 77 
Chapter 9. Post World War II 88 
Chapter 10. Inauguration of a Long-Range Plan for Develop- 
ment of the Statistical Reporting Service 95 

PART V. APPENDIX _. 108 

Chapter 11. A Century of Agriculture in Charts and Pictures _ 108 

Chapter 12. A Chronology of Development and Progress 125 

Chapter 13. Heads of Agricultural Statistics 129 

Chapter 14. Statutes Establishing and Enlarging the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture 129 

Chapter 15. Laws Governing Crop Reports 131 

Chapter 16. Crop Reporting Regulations 134 

Chapter 17. Commissioners and Secretaries of Agriculture 137 



PART I. EARLY EFFORTS TO GATHER AGRICULTURAL 

STATISTICS, 1781-1861 



PROLOGUE 

The United States became a Nation when 
the Articles of Confederation were ratified in 
1781. The business of the new Nation was 
largely agriculture. In 1790, the census showed 
about 4 million people; over 90 percent gain- 
fully employed were in agriculture. Farmers, 
particularly those in the North, were thinking 
in terms of their own and local needs first, 
while in the South agriculture had tended to 
develop along more commercial lines. In 1790, 
tobacco alone accounted for 44 percent of total 
exports. Cotton soon began to take the limelight 
and by the middle of the 19th century accounted 
for 54 percent of the value of total exports. 

Invention of new farm machinery and im- 
provement of the old were receiving active at- 
tention. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin 
in 1793 and in the same year Thomas Jefferson 
invented a moldboard plow based on scientific 
principles. Four years later, Charles Newbold 
of New Jersey received a patent for the first 
cast-iron plow. In 1833, John Lane began the 
manufacture of steel plows and Oberd Hursy 
patented the first successful horse-drawn grain 
reaper. A few years later, in 1837, John 
Deere began manufacturing plows with steel 
share and smooth wrought-iron moldboard. A 
patent was granted to G. W. Brown for a 
widely used corn planter in 1853 and the next 
year a patent was granted for a two-wheeled 
jointed bar mower. In 1856, a two-horse 
straddle row cultivator was patented and in 
1858 a harvester which gathered grain into 
bundles was patented by C. W. and W. W. 
Marsh. 1 



1 Rasmussen, Wayne D., Readings in the History of 
American Agriculture. Univ. 111. Press, 1960, pp. 35-60, 
295-301. 



Transportation was also developing. In 1805 
the first corn-fat cattle were driven over the 
mountains from the Ohio Valley to eastern 
markets. Building turnpikes started about 
1790. The first one of importance, the Phila- 
delphia-Lancaster Turnpike, was completed in 
1794. The most celebrated turnpike was built 
by the Federal Government. This was the 
Cumberland Road, or National Pike, that ran 
west from Cumberland, Md. The first appropri- 
ation for this road was made in 1806 and work 
started in 1811. By 1818 it had reached Wheel- 
ing on the Ohio River and in 20 years, it had 
been pushed across Ohio and Indiana and on to 
Vandalia in central Illinois. The original plan 
was to extend the Cumberland Road to St. 
Louis, but by the time it reached Vandalia the 
superiority of railroads had been established 
and the extension was abandoned. 

From the earliest times, rivers had been the 
principal means of transportation. The limita- 
tions of river transportation became an in- 
creasing problem in meeting the needs of the 
new Nation as population increased, and as 
industrial growth drew increasing numbers of 
industrial workers into urban centers. Canal- 
ization of the rivers in some instances allevi- 
ated the problem of long and difficult portages 
around the rapids, but the problem of up- 
stream traffic was the greatest limitation. The 
solution of this problem came in 1807 when 
Robert Fulton succeeded in running his Cler- 
mont up the Hudson from New York to Al- 
bany, demonstrating the practicability of 
using steam power to propel ships. Steamboats 
were introduced on the Ohio River in 1811, 
but it was not until 1815 that a steamboat 
succeeded in ascending the Mississippi River 
as far as the falls at Louisville, Ky. 

Problems of east-west transportation still 
remained. This limitation encouraged the 



building of canals. One of the first to be built 
was the Santee Canal connecting Charleston, 
S.C., with the Santee River; it opened in 1800. 
Another early enterprise was the Middlesex 
Canal, connecting Boston with the Merrimac 
River a little north of Lowell, Mass. Many 
States embarked on extensive canal building 
programs, but by far the most commercially 
important canal was the Erie Canal from Al- 
bany to Buffalo. This project was started in 
1817 and completed in 1825. 

Canalization was the most significant devel- 
opment of the age, connecting the farming 
areas in western New York State and the 
great new agricultural areas of the Central 
States with the growing industrial areas of the 
Atlantic Coast. 2 

Development of rail transportation over- 
lapped the canal building era. The opening of 
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1830 might 
be regarded as the beginning of the decline of 
canal transportation. Actually, the Erie Canal 
is the only one built during the period that 
has survived the competition of the railroad 
and later transportation developments. The 
total mileage of railroads in the United States 
in 1840 was 2,818 miles. By 1860, just 2 years 
before the U.S. Department of Agriculture was 
established, the railroad net amounted to 
30,626 miles. 3 

Interest of the farmers in improved prac- 
tices, new crops, and breeds of livestock dates 
to the first colonists. Agricultural societies 
started early, beginning with the American 
Philosophical Society organized in 1743 to 
promote scientific agriculture. The movement 
grew after the Revolution. The societies were 
influential in promoting improved agriculture 
and giving expression to the concern of farm- 
ers with the political actions of the new Gov- 
ernment and the need for national recogni- 
tion of the problems of agriculture. 

The shift from manpower to horsepower, 
the opening of new lands accelerated by de- 
velopment of transportation, and the awaken- 
ing of interest in experimentation with fertil- 
izer and new varieties of crops and breeds of 
livestock all had significant impacts on the ac- 



tivities of the Government in agriculture. The 
first action of the Government came in 1839 
when the Patent Office started collecting agri- 
cultural statistics and distributing seed. In 
1862, with the establishment of the U.S. De- 
partment of Agriculture, the work was ex- 
panded. 

CHAPTER 1 . EVOLUTION OF AGRICULTURAL 
DATA SYSTEMS 

Efforts to establish facts about U.S. agricul- 
ture trace back to colonial days. In colonial 
times, nearly everyone was concerned with 
land and the production of things needed to 
sustain life, and attempts were made to collect 
information on farming methods and to gen- 
eralize about responses in production. Efforts 
to quantify production and populations became 
more frequent and more effective with the 
passing decades. Indeed, historic roots and 
prototypes of modern Government surveys 
seeking agricultural information can be traced 
to periods long before the U.S. Government 
itself assumed this type of responsibility. Var- 
ious fields of work now carried on by the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture had early origins. 
Much of our latterday progress was made 
possible by the efforts of our forefathers to 
deal with the issues of their day. They left a 
heritage upon which much has been built, in- 
cluding our present agricultural data collect- 
ing systems. 

Knowledge of agriculture which early set- 
tlers brought from Europe was often of little 
service to them. 4 In a sense pioneers began 
life anew, and for years many were short of 
tools, shelter, food, and animals. For a time, 
life in most places was indeed a struggle for 
existence. 5 The first permanent settlers in 
America were caught in a great transition. 
While land was often free, the problems of 
clearing and of producing a crop were many 
and often quite unrelated to Old World 
experience. 

In their European background the new- 
comers were not hunters nor fishermen, nor 



2 Jones, Eliot. Principles of Railway Transportation. 
The Macmillan Co., 1929, pp. 38-43. 

3 U.S. Department of Commerce. Historical Statistics 
of the United States, Colonial Times to 1957, p. 427. 



4 Eliot, Jared. Essays on New England Husbandry. 
Killingworth, Conn., 1747. Essays reprinted by Mass. 
Soc. for Promoting Agr., 1811, Part I, p. 5. 

1 Ibid. 



had they experience in land clearing. 6 Like- 
wise, they were unaccustomed to using native 
fruits and other plants for subsistence. Gradu- 
ally they improved their equipment and shel- 
ter, while producing crops from European 
seeds as well as learning to clear land and 
grow corn and other native crops as the In- 
dians had done before them. Livestock, which 
was scarce in the early periods, became more 
numerous, especially after the introduction of 
European forage crops such as bluegrass and 
clover. 

As better farming methods were developed, 
more knowledge of agriculture in all its phases 
was eagerly sought, especially by men in posi- 
tions of leadership. They experimented with 
improvements in farm practices and often cor- 
responded with men of learning and influence 
in distant colonies or in Europe, exchanging 
views and experience so that they might im- 
prove their own farming methods and those 
of others. The writings on agriculture by 
Washington, Jefferson, and other leaders in 
our early history are illustrative. 

The early search for knowledge of agricul- 
ture often involved concepts of yields per acre. 
Jared Eliot's essays (first published in 1747) 
mention 20 bushels of wheat per acre as a 
middling crop. 7 Long before 1747, the first 
year official averages could be obtained, yield 
expectations were expressed quantitatively. 
Likewise an interest existed in size and util- 
ization of landholdings of farmers, but official 
data summarizing such subjects had yet to 
come into being. 

Data on animal inventories, such as those 
obtained on cattle by tax lists of Connecticut 
in 1648 or Essex County, Mass., even earlier, 
were recorded,* but collection of data on agri- 
culture in the modern sense had not evolved. 
Local inventories of livestock, etc., as obtained 
from early tax lists have perhaps more inter- 
est to historians than they had for people of 
that time. 



* Bidwell, P. W. and Falconer, J. D. History of Agri- 
culture in the Northern United States, 1620-1860. Car- 
negie Institution, 1925, p. 5. 

7 Eliot, Jared. Essays on New England Husbandry. 
Killingworth, Conn., 1747. Essays reprinted by Mass. 
Soc. for Promoting Agr., 1811, Part I, p. 5. 

* Bidwell and Falconer, pp 26, 105. 



Early American farmers, like those of Eng- 
land, showed little concern about markets, the 
environment being one of food deficits rather 
than surpluses. The market usually seemed to 
be assumed and emphasis was mainly on how 
to achieve more production. Farming was an 
individual matter, with much of the produc- 
tion for home consumption and only a small 
amount for market. Self-sufficiency as a con- 
cept applied to local communities as well as to 
the individual farm. Questions in agriculture 
were mostly about "farming and farming 
methods," about practices in use and results 
obtained, rather than about general supply and 
location of products. Because nearly everyone 
had land, the distinction between producers 
and consumers of farm products was not as 
clear as it has since become. 

President Washington's Mailed Inquiry 

An early use of letters to farmers to obtain 
information on agriculture was undertaken by 
Washington while he was President of the 
United States. In "George Washington, 
Farmer" 9 it is recorded : "These letters were 
the result of inquiries made of Washington by 
Arthur Young (of England) in 1791." The 
report further states that: 



. . . because of this service and of his general 
interest in agricultural matters Washington was 
elected a foreign honorary member of the English 
Board of Agriculture and received a diploma, 
which is still preserved among his papers. 

The following circular letter was addressed to 
several gentlemen, the best informed of the agri- 
culture, value of lands, and the prices of produce, 
&c. in the States of New-York, New-Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Maryland, and Virginia; and the answers 
which have been received are thereunto subjoined. 

Philadelphia, August 25, 1791. 

Dear Sir, 

Some inquiries having been made of me by im- 
portant characters, on the state of agriculture in 
America, comprehending its several relations, and 
intended to ascertain the value of our lands, with 
their yield in the several kinds of grain, grass, 
&c. the prices of farming stock; the prices of 
produce, &c. together with a list of the taxes in 
the different States, which may in any way affect 
the farmer: as an object highly interesting to our 
country, I have determined to render the most just 
and satisfactory answers that the best information 
I can obtain from different parts of the United 
States will enable me to give. 



9 Haworth, Paul Leland. George Washington, Farmer, 
p. 84. Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1915. 



With this view, my confidence in your disposi- 
tion and knowledge, leads me to offer to your 
inquiry, and to request from your intelligence as 
early information as may be convenient, on the 
following heads: 

1. The fee-simple prices of farming lands in 

such part of the State of as are neither 

so near to large towns as to enhance their value, 
nor so distant from market as greatly to reduce 
it, or to make the situation inconvenient. In your 
answer to this inquiry, be pleased to note, gen- 
erally, the situations, the soil, and, if it be prac- 
ticable, the proportions of arable, pasture, and 
woodland. 

2. The rents of the same lands, when leased, 
and, generally, the terms of lease. 

3. The average product of the same lands in 
wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, beans, pease, 
potatoes, turnips, grasses, hemp, flax, &c. in the 
common mode of husbandry now practised. 

4. The average prices of these articles, when 
sold at the farm, or carried to the nearest market. 

5. The average prices of good working horses, 
working oxen, milch cows, sheep, hogs, poultry, &c. 

6. The average prices of beef, veal, mutton, pork, 
butter, and cheese, in the neighbourhood, or at the 
nearest markettowns. 

7. The price of wrought iron, whence the price 
of farming utensils may be inferred. 

8. A list of the Taxes laid in the State of 

The tendency of this inquiry, will be my apology 

for the trouble it may give to you. 

I am, dear, Sir, with great regard, 
Your most obedient servant, 

G. Washington 10 

He obtained enough information from his 
inquiry to write fully to his English corre- 
spondent. As agricultural surveys evolved they 
were mainly designed to bring together infor- 
mation to answer questions of interest at a 
particular time. And while the early surveys 
were often prototypes of inquiries that were 
used later, they can be best understood in 
terms of what was wanted in the way of in- 
formation at the time the surveys were made. 

Inquiries by Early Agricultural Societies 

A spirit of improvement was promoted 
largely through agricultural societies. These 
came into existence in England early in the 
18th century, the first one being credited to 
Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1723. X1 The movement 
spread in the British Isles, then to Europe and 
America. 



10 Letters from George Washington to Arthur Young 
and Sir John Sinclair. Printed by Cottom and Stewart, 
Alexandria, 1803, pp. 19-50. 

11 True, R. H. The Early Development of Agricultural 
Societies in the United States. 



In England, the societies became a device 
for promoting interest in agriculture by the 
well-to-do landowners for whom agriculture 
became a special interest during the last half 
of the 18th century. Improvement of agricul- 
ture was a social as well as a practical eco- 
nomic endeavor with men of standing, and 
various ways were developed to popularize the 
movement. A development that did much to 
stimulate this interest was the creation of the 
English Board of Agriculture in 1793. Sir 
John Sinclair, with the aid of Pitt, secured an 
act of Parliament and a charter from the 
King for such a Board. 12 In this way the Gov- 
ernment became a party to the collection of 
information and the making of statistical sur- 
veys, thereby adding dignity and standing to 
the agricultural revolution. This was one of a 
long series of events which led to similar ac- 
tion by the U.S. Congress nearly seven decades 
later, when the Department of Agriculture 
was created with statistical work as a major 
and continuing activity. In fact, at the urging 
of Sir John Sinclair, with whom he corre- 
sponded, George Washington proposed in his 
last annual message to Congress the establish- 
ment of a Board of Agriculture and the use of 
public financial aid for its work. 13 

Agricultural societies in the United States 
took various forms, but generally they pro- 
vided a means by which people in public lead- 
ership who were interested in agriculture 
could work and express themselves concerning 
improvement in this broad field. Leading 
citizens undertook to popularize knowledge 
about agriculture and better farming methods 
in an effort to improve their communities. 

Actually, in their general objectives, the 
early agricultural societies covered various 
areas of work which later became recognized 
Government functions in the Department of 
Agriculture. Some of the objectives and their 
outcomes are as follows: 

1. Educational efforts of the societies may 
be considered a response to a need which ulti- 
mately brought the Morrill Act of 1862 and 
the land grant colleges. 



12 Neely, W. C. The Agricultural Fair. p. 39. Columbia 
Univ. Press, New York, 1935. 

"Ibid., p. 42. 



2. Payments of premiums for improved 
crops and animals, as well as experiments and 
demonstrations, were forerunners of agricul- 
tural experiment station efforts which came 
with the Hatch Act of 1887. 

3. Educational fairs, shows, exhibits, and 
contests may be looked upon as forerunners of 
agricultural extension work that became a co- 
operative Government responsibility under the 
Smith-Lever Act of 1914. 

4. Inquiry for the collection of information 
was a major part of the societies' efforts on 
behalf of agriculture, and their surveys first 
brought State support for statistical work. 
This in turn led to congressional support for 
statistics, first in the Patent Office and, 23 
years later, in the establishment of this func- 
tion as a part of the Department of Agricul- 
ture. Through inquiries, statistical and other 
information was sought which made general- 
ization possible in agricultural matters. 

The Massachusetts Society for Promoting 
Agriculture and Agricultural Inquiry 

Just as they pioneered early work in other 
important public efforts in agriculture, so cer- 
tain early agricultural societies undertook the 
making of inquiries to collect a wide range of 
information and data on farming. A notable 
early effort in this area was that of the Massa- 
chusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture 
about 1800, when it distributed a set of 50 
queries, answers to which were published in 
1807. 

While the inquiries dealt largely with farm- 
ing methods, experience, and results, numer- 
ical values had a place in describing such items 
as production per acre, numbers of animals 
usually kept on a farm, and prices. Also there 
were questions on straw and fodder; land 
values; seed used per acre; and days of labor 
used per acre in raising and shelling corn. One 
respondent stated that shelling corn took 7 
days per acre and was done by rubbing the 
corn cobs against a spade and over a tub. 

Inquiry by the Albemarle Agricultural 

Society 

Another agricultural society that undertook 
the collection of information was the Albe- 
marle Agricultural Society of Virginia. The 
society was organized on May 5, 1817, in 



Charlottesville by a small group whose objec- 
tives were to promote the interests of agricul- 
ture and domestic economy. Among the lead- 
ing names listed was that of Thomas Jefferson, 
who according to R. H. True may be justly 
regarded as the founder of this society. 14 A 
committee of five, one of whom was Jefferson, 
was named to prepare rules and regulations 
for the government of the society. When this 
committee reported on October 7, 1817, nine 
objects for attention and inquiry by the society 
were stated. These included the cultivation of 
primary crops — wheat, tobacco, and hemp — 
for market, and also subsidiary items for the 
support of the farm and household, such as 
other crops and livestock. The emphasis on 
the three crops for market reflected the great- 
er importance of the market aspect of pro- 
duction in this region, as well as the growing 
importance of a market economy in the agri- 
culture of the time. The fact that inquiry is 
stressed among the objectives of the society 
may be associated with accomplishments by 
inquiries of other early societies, notably the 
one in Massachusetts. The subject matter of 
the inquiry was broad; it included "Calendars 
of Work" relating to organization of farm 
operations, requirements of labor, "draught 
animals: employed throughout the year," etc. 
The Albemarle Society undertook various 
other projects for the advancement of agri- 
culture. For the purpose of 

carrying into effect the views of the Society with 
regard to implements of Husbandry, it is ex- 
pedient to establish a manufactory of such; to be 
in part under the patronage and guidance of the 
Society; to have in view particularly improvements 
in the construction of ploughs. 15 

Another undertaking of the society was the 
establishment of a professorship of agriculture 
at the University of Virginia, 16 

to hasten and perpetuate the march of Agricul- 
tural improvement already so happily com- 
menced. . . . This Society could not make an ap- 
propriation of its funds more conducive to the 



14 True, R. H. Early Days of the Albemarle Agricul- 
tural Society. Amer. Hist. Assoc. Ann. Rpt. 1:244, 246. 
1918. 

15 True, R. H. Minute Book of the Albemarle (Vir- 
ginia) Agricultural Society. Amer. Hist. Assoc. Ann. 
Rpt. Vol I, p. 277. 1918. 

16 Ibid., pp. 298-299. 



permanent attainment of the primary objects of 
its institution — and as it is reasonable to expect 
that all the Agricultural Societies, the Farmers 
and Planters of the State generally will cheer- 
fully contribute to an Establishment of such uni- 
versal Interest— Therefore. . . . Resolved, That 
One Thousand Dollars of the sum now in the 
Hands of the Treasurer of this Society be appro- 
priated to the establishment of a Fund, the profits 
of which shall go to the support of a professorship 
of Agriculture at the University of Virginia. 

Early Statistical Efforts by the States 

In addition to State support of agricultural 
societies, State governments contributed to 
the agricultural data field by direct action 
programs. The inclusion of certain agricul- 
tural items in a New York State census in 
1825 was an early State contribution. 

The Massachusetts Agricultural Survey— 
1837-41 

One of the best-known and most extensive 
State agricultural surveys was made by the 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts over a 4-year 
period, 1837-41. The State government under- 
took to collect information on agriculture and 
associated items in each county of the State. 
In addition to the contributions by the Massa- 
chusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, 
much more was done in that State through 
the survey begun in 1837 and reported in four 
publications between 1838 and 1841. 

Early Growth of State Censuses 

When Washington's proposal to Congress in 
1796 to establish a National Board of Agricul- 
ture failed to be accepted, public support of 
agriculture was left to the States. The Massa- 
chusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, in 
1792, had been the first to receive such help. 
In time, various States supported the work of 
these organizations and other projects. 

Censuses were a popular form of State sta- 
tistical work. Even in colonial times some of 
these were taken, one for Massachusetts being 
reported as early as 1643, one in Rhode Island 
in 1708, and one in New Hampshire in 1767. 
After independence, more States gradually 
undertook some kind of census enumerations, 
and in the 1850 census compendium published 
in 1854, Superintendent of the Census J. D. B. 
DeBow found that 20 of the 31 States had 
some type of census. While these were mainly 



for the enumeration of population, other items 
were included. Not only were State censuses 
found in some of the older States, but some of 
the new States provided for censuses in their 
constitutions and others made legislative pro- 
vision for them later. These older censuses 
were quite unlike the more recent agricultural 
enumerations by assessors, which are still 
carried on in 14 States. 

In the years of rapid westward expansion 
and of rapid increases in population due both 
to immigration and natural increase, the in- 
terval between the decennial U.S. censuses was 
longer than many States wanted to wait for a 
new record of their growth. A number of 
States took their own censuses 10 years apart, 
midway between the Federal population 
censuses. Gradually, however, the State cen- 
suses of population disappeared. 

State Statistical Bureaus Proposed 

In the 1840's there was interest in the es- 
tablishment of a national statistical bureau 
similar to those existing in some European 
nations. There were also efforts to establish 
State statistical bureaus. DeBow reported that 
such bureaus had been proposed in South 
Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Illinois, 
and that one had been actually established in 
Louisiana. 17 Working in Louisiana, DeBow 
prepared a circular proposing — under 14 in- 
clusive heads — the desired functions of such 
a bureau for that State. He believed that the 
outline was also suitable for other States. In 
the light of changes taking place in agriculture 
at midcentury, it is a little surprising that the 
statistical proposals of the period were wholly 
in the nature of long-interval descriptions. 

Early Agricultural Data in the U.S. Govern- 
ment 

The U.S. Government did practically no 
work in agriculture for a half-century after 
independence. President Washington and 
others had urged it, but the Congress had not 
responded. Interest seemed to be mainly in 
local aspects of the industry, and, since farm- 
ing was highly individualistic, the demand for 



17 Compendium of the 7th Census (1850), pp. 18-20. 



a national program in agriculture developed 
slowly. However, in the decade after 1830, 
with the rapid growth of the Nation and the 
great westward expansion, as well as more 
evidence of agricultural surpluses and price 
problems, the need for more information on 
agricultural resources became apparent. The 
efforts of States were uncoordinated, and 
while some of them were locally important, 
national data for agriculture were not avail- 
able. Two extraordinary individuals, Archi- 
bald Russell and Henry L. Ellsworth, came 
forward with proposals for a national pro- 
gram for agricultural data in the U.S. census 
and in the Patent Office. 

Archibald Russell and His Census Proposals 

An important event in 1839 was the appear- 
ance of a book entitled, "Principles of Sta- 
tistical Inquiry as Illustrated in Proposals for 
Uniting an Examination Into the Resources of 
the United States With the Census to Be 
Taken in 1840." Its contributions were many. 
The author, Archibald Russell, was a native 
of Scotland who had been educated in Europe, 
and he transported to the American scene 
viewpoints based largely upon European ex- 
perience. He proposed ideas about the need for 
national inventory data as well as State data 
on agriculture and other parts of the economy. 

Russell was 28 years old when his book was 
published, only 3 years after he settled in New 
York. His education at Edinburgh and Bonn 
in philosophy, law, and medicine, plus his ex- 
perience, somehow combined to produce this 
remarkable treatise after only a few years in 
this country. He saw in the mechanism of the 
U.S. census, provided for in the Constitution 
to enumerate the inhabitants, a means of 
measuring the Nation's various resources of 
which agriculture at that time was the lead- 
ing one. 

Russell proposed that an inventory of re- 
sources of the Nation be taken along with the 
1840 Census of Population. He believed that 
economic understanding would be helped 
greatly by such data. Because the Nation had 
already enumerated its people at 10-year in- 
tervals, beginning with 1790, Russell argued 
that agriculture, manufactures, and other sub- 
ject matter could be enumerated along with 
the sixth census of population. President Van 



Buren, in his message to Congress in De- 
cember 1838, recommended the adoption of 
provisions for taking the population census of 
1840 and possibly extending it to include 
additional information. The President's rec- 
ommendation was : 

In recommending to Congress the adoption of the 
necessary provisions at this session for taking the 
next census or enumeration of the inhabitants of 
the United States, the suggestion presents itself 
whether the scope of the measure might not be 
usefully extended by causing it to embrace au- 
thentic statistical returns of the great interest 
specially entrusted to, or necessarily affected by, 
the legislation of Congress. 

The President's statement provided the op- 
portunity for Russell to write detailed pro- 
posals for including other subjects with the 
population enumeration in 1840. He quoted 
the statement in full in his book. In fact, the 
statement reads as though Russell might have 
had something to do with writing it. 



Midcentury U.S. Census of Agriculture 

Congress adopted President Van Buren's 
recommendation, and the first census of agri- 
culture was taken in 1840. The enumeration, 
containing 37 items, was included in a Sched- 
ule of Mines, Agriculture, Commerce, Manu- 
factures, etc. In 1850, a separate Schedule No. 
3, Productions of Agriculture, listed 46 items. 
In 1860, Schedule 4, Productions of Agricul- 
ture, had 48 items and in 1870, Schedule 3, 
Production in Agriculture, had 52 items. 

During 1840-70, while changes were not as 
great as in decades that followed, some prog- 
ress was made. The separate listing provided 
for each farm beginning in 1850 was a major 
improvement. After the 1840 experience, a 
census committee studied methods and content 
of the various census questionnaires, and bet- 
ter enumerations were the result. Archibald 
Russell was involved in this work, especially 
in the census of 1850 when the first individual 
farm schedule for agriculture was employed. 

The census of 1840 provided the first na- 
tional inventory of agricultural production. In 
spite of its shortcomings, it became the basis 
of a remarkable undertaking in agricultural 
estimates in the Patent Office beginning in 
1841. 



Annual Agricultural Estimates by Ellsworth 
in the U.S. Patent Office 



pleted within the time permitted for the an- 
nual report from the Patent Office." 19 



Development of agricultural data in the 
United States was greatly advanced by the 
work of the U.S. Patent Office. This had its 
beginning during the 9-year administration of 
Henry L. Ellsworth from Connecticut, who 
while trained in the law was also deeply inter- 
ested in agriculture. He was Commissioner of 
Patents from 1836 to 1845. In his report to 
Congress for the year 1837, he commented on 
the fact that commerce and manufacture had 
received help from the Patent Office, but that 
agriculture had been taken for granted and 
had received no aid from legislation. He ex- 
pressed optimism about what could be done for 
agriculture and mentioned specifically the in- 
troduction of new varieties of wheat and other 
seeds from foreign climates. He indicated that 
selection of seeds and experiments with crops 
might substantially increase the yields. He 
implied that space in the new building occu- 
pied by the Patent Office might well be set 
aside for agriculture. 18 

To further his ideas Ellsworth prevailed 
upon Congress to appropriate $1,000 from the 
Patent Office fund in 1839 for the following 
purposes : 

(1) Collecting and distributing seeds. 

(2) Carrying out agricultural investigations. 

(3) Procuring agricultural statistics. 

In his report for 1839, he reported that he 
had found it necessary to expend a small 
amount of the appropriation for procuring 
agricultural statistics in conjunction with the 
inquiries propounded by the Secretary of 
State in taking the census. Also, the U.S. diplo- 
matic corps had been solicited to procure seeds, 
and the officers of the Navy had been requested 
to convey to the Patent Office such seeds as 
might be offered. 

In his report for 1840, he reported on prog- 
ress made as a result of the 1839 appropria- 
tion: Over 30,000 packages of seed had been 
distributed, and these had been well received 
by the agricultural community. On the matter 
of statistics he merely reported that these "are 
in a state of forwardness but can not be com- 



The Emergence of Annual Crop Production 
Estimates by States 

When the census totals for 1839 crops and 
other data for 1840 appeared, Ellsworth had a 
basis for estimates of production by States 
and Territories which he made yearly through 
1844.-° Because the interest had now shifted 
more to data for the Nation, such data were 
obtained by adding the totals estimated sepa- 
rately for each of the States and Territories. 
Ellsworth's painstaking efforts provided the 
general pattern of annual agricultural esti- 
mates which continues to the present time in 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many 
improvements have been made. However, the 
idea of using enumerated quantities for each 
State or Territory as a base or benchmark, 
and projecting estimates for later dates by 
applying a rate of change estimated from cur- 
rent information, was the method used by 
Ellsworth. It was a prototype of the methods 
that continued after the work was taken up 
by the Department of Agriculture. 

In the Patent Office report for 1841, Com- 
missioner Ellsworth shows tabular estimates 
of the production of the principal crops and 
the populations of livestock and other items 
on the farms by States and Territories. 21 In 
commenting on these tables Ellsworth stated, 
"These annual statistics will, it is hoped, 
guard against monopoly or an exorbitant 
price." 22 

Statistical Work in the U.S. Patent Office 
After Ellsworth 

Ellsworth left the Patent Office on April 30, 
1845. His successor, Edmund Burke, served a 
4-year term. In general, Burke continued the 
statistical work which had been undertaken 
by Ellsworth (except in 1846, because no ap- 



1 U.S. Senate Document No. 105. 25th Cong., 2d. Sess. 



19 U.S. Congress. Senate Documents. 26th Cong. 2d. 
Sess., Vol. 4, p. 152. 

20 U.S. Congress. House of Representatives Document 
No. 109. 27th Cong., 3rd Sess., pp. 4 and 5 1842. 

21 U.S. Congress. House of Representees Document 
No. 74. 27th Cong., 2nd Sess., pp. 64-67. 

22 Ibid., p. 5. 



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propriation was made by Congress for that 
year). In addition to the work on agricultural 
statistics, the agricultural material in the 
Patent Office was substantially expanded in 
the years after Ellsworth's departure. How- 
ever, the annual estimates of agricultural pro- 
duction by States and Territories were con- 
tinued only through 1848 and discontinued 
thereafter. 

Subsequent Commissioners of the Patent 
Office, while they were concerned with other 
types of agricultural data, did not resume the 
efforts to produce annual estimates. Under the 
third Commissioner of Patents, Thomas Ew- 
bank, who served for about 21/2 years, agri- 
cultural work in the Patent Office expanded 
steadily, but mainly in directions other than 
statistics. 

The bold attempts of Ellsworth and his suc- 
cessor, Burke, to make national estimates of 
production for the important agricultural 
products and to estimate animal populations 
each year, were not looked upon with favor by 
Patent Office leadership after 1849. While the 
work in agriculture grew, reports covering 
much technical material and data on trade 
prices, etc., were published. There were no 
further attempts by the Patent Office to esti- 
mate agricultural production in the years be- 
tween the census enumerations. In fact Orange 
Judd, editor of the American Agriculturist, 
derided the whole effort as a "seed store in 
Washington." 

Development after 1850 

The years from 1850 to 1863 were indeed a 
period of great transition in American agri- 
culture. In the first place the decade of the 
1850's was one of unusual prosperity and vast 
changes. Foreign migration to the United 
States was tremendous. The census of 1850 
showed that more than 1,700,000 people had 
come to the country during the last decade. 
The census of 1860 showed nearly 6,200,000 
had come since 1850. Many of these newcomers 
were lured by agriculture. 

In this period, the West drew heavily on the 
people of the older colonies. In 1850, for 
example, the census reported that 154,891 
people born in Connecticut were now living 
outside that State. This was more than half 
the number of native-born people still living 



in Connecticut at the time of the census. 23 For 
North Carolina likewise, more than half of the 
people who had been born in that State were 
living in other States. The westward migration 
of the people in the century following the end 
of the American Revolution has been referred 
to as the greatest single fact in American 
history. 21 In this movement agriculture was 
transformed completely, from the old self- 
sufficient type that was known at the begin- 
ning of that century to a more commercial 
agriculture, increasingly dependent upon 
national and international markets. 

The westward movement of agricultural 
production before 1860 is shown by census com- 
parisons. For example, in 1840 the census 
showed that the New England and Middle 
Atlantic States produced one-third of the 
Nation's wheat; in the 1860 census these 
States had only one-seventh of the wheat pro- 
duction. During this period the Nation's wheat 
crop doubled. For barley, in the 1840 census 
the Northeastern States had 85 percent of the 
production. In the following two decades 
national production increased nearly fourfold, 
but in the 1860 census the Northeastern 
States had less than 38 percent of the barley 
production. For cattle, the 1840 census found 
over 32 percent of production in the North- 
eastern States but in 1860 only 20 percent. 
While these changes were occurring, the North- 
eastern region developed other lines of output 
such as more dairying (especially cheese- 
making) , and more feed crops such as oats, hay, 
and corn, as well as special items like tobacco, 
hops, and flax. 

The vast developments of the decades pre- 
ceding 1860 in American agriculture may be 
summed up as follows: 25 



1. The great westward movement of the people 
in the United States. 

2. The development of a public land policy which 
resulted in the Homestead Act of 1862. 

3. The growth of cotton production in the South. 

4. Application of science and invention to farm 
machinery. 

5. The development, especially after 1830, of 
transportation. 



23 U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1850 Census Compend- 
ium, p. 114. 

24 Learned, H. B. The President's Cabinet, p. 293. 
1912. 

25 Ibid., p. 305. 



12 



Out of the great changes which American 
agriculture experienced in this period there 
emerged needs for information on agriculture 
other than that already provided by the census. 
Since there was no experience anywhere which 
offered a pattern, it had to emerge bit by bit 
as men wrestled with the problems of the 
period. In this process, movements to deal with 
the troubles of farm producers in a time of 
agricultural abundance and the trend toward 
more exports and more commercialization of 
the industry appeared in various places. The 
political climate favored more Government 
work in agriculture, and efforts were made 
during the decade of the 1850's and earlier to 
create a national bureau of agriculture and 
statistics. The evolution of a second major data 
system in agriculture can be better understood 
if some of these are reviewed. 



James T. Earle and Agricultural Societies 

In the middle of the 19th century there was 
a revival of the agricultural society movement, 
especially State agricultural societies. The in- 
fluence of these societies was important. 

The Maryland State Agricultural Society 
made notable efforts to develop the collection 
of agricultural statistics. On October 5, 1854, 
at the society's annual meeting in Baltimore, 
a resolution by J. T. Earle for the appointment 
of a special committee of the society to collect 
statistics on crops was adopted. A circular 
(questionnaire) was sent by the committee to 
county agricultural societies in Maryland as 
well as to the officers of other State agricul- 
tural societies, but few bothered to reply. 26 

Earle also sent a questionnaire to individuals 
and to county agricultural societies, to report 
by October 10 on the state of crops. While 
the results of the effort are not known, it may 
have influenced later efforts. It appears to have 
been an attempt at annual estimates similar, 
perhaps, to those which the Patent Office dis- 
continued after 1848. 



John Jay's Statistical View of American 
Agriculture 

On the evening of August 25, 1858, following 
the establishment of an agricultural section of 
the American Geographical and Statistical 
Society of New York, John Jay, the first chair- 
man of the new section, gave an address. 27 

In this address the author undertook to 
"glance over the field which the Agricultural 
Statistics of our country are destined to em- 
brace." 

Statistics as a Basis of Policy. — Jay be- 
lieved that statistics, if adequately provided, 
would be useful in guiding our policy in agri- 
culture as well as in all social matters. He 
quoted Lord Stanley as follows: 

When, therefore, in discussing social questions, we 
apply the statistical test, we are really doing 
nothing more than appealing from imagination 
to fact, from conjecture to certainty, from an im- 
perfect to a perfect method of observation. 

His was a plea for the performance of sta- 
tistical work involving Government at all 
levels, but he recognized that the efforts by 
States so far had been unequal and perhaps 
inadequate on this subject. 

Jay's paper was a gem from the standpoint 
of bringing together much current thought 
of the period. It was an able plea for im- 
proved descriptive analysis of the rural econ- 
omy at 10-year intervals by the Federal cen- 
sus, and for a Federal program in gen- 
eral. However, it failed to record the parallel 
development during that decade of a need for 
current information to guide farm plans in 
production and marketing. 



Headway Through Journalism 

While John Jay in his New York address 
made no mention of the farmers' need for 
current data, a breakthrough was brewing in 
the correspondence of editor Orange Judd at 
the office of the American Agriculturist on 



The American Farmer 10(9): 278-279, Mar. 1855. 



27 Jay, John. American Agriculture, A Statistical 
View. p. 5. 



13 



Water Street, only city blocks away. The rec- 
ognition of public interest in crop information 
as the growing season progressed, and short 
reports on the situation in issues of the 
American Agriculturist, were the beginning 
of a new pattern that was to develop into a 
major agricultural data system. The new sys- 
tem, when combined with the census, was to 
serve the Nation's agriculture for the cen- 
tury to follow. Other editors had, of course, 
discussed crop prospects, and price prospects 
based on the crop outlook, but the work of the 
American Agriculturist led to a major devel- 
opment. 

As near as is known, Judd began in the 
middle 1850's to get from his subscribers 
brief summary reports of observations on the 
condition and prospect of crops as the season 
advanced. He got a considerable volume of 
mail from which he distilled the essential 
facts. This is shown in the September 1858 
issue of the paper, "Reports on Crops — A 
Model." 

In 1857, after an extensive trip through the 
Middle West, editor Judd wrote on "The Crop 
Prospects" in the September issue. 28 By 1859 
two reports on crops appeared — one in July 
(page 200) on "The Crops— The Frost" and 
another in the August issue (page 252) under 
the title "Reports on the Crops." In the latter, 
16 short statements from respondents from 
various places were printed. Each was a short 
summary of crop conditions and prospects in 
the area where the respondent was located. 



Evolution of Monthly Crop Reports 

After some years of reporting on crops by 
subscribers of the paper, a larger project was 
proposed by Judd in the March 1862 issue of 
the "American Agriculturist." 29 He proposed 
that: 



1. Let the readers of the Agriculturist in every 
town counsel together, and select some man who 
may be relied upon for good judgment, and general 
ability to estimate with some degree of accuracy in 
regard to the leading crops, wheat, corn, etc., (a), 
what is the amount of surface (area) sown or 



28 Judd, Orange. The American Agriculturist 16: 175, 
Mar. 1862. 

"-•Ibid., 72. 



planted, as compared with previous years; and 
(b), the prospect at any date. Wherever there is 
a Farmer's Club, let the Club choose the reporter. 
Let it be understood by him that he is desired 
to keep on the look-out, and be able to respond 
to all questions as to the prospect of the crops. 
Where any subscriber stands alone, and can get 
no one to cooperate with him, let him volunteer 
to act himself, and the very fact that his report 
is to go out to the country will lead him to be 
observant and make inquiries. 

2. Let the name of such persons be forwarded to 
the Editor of the Agriculturist without delay. 

3. To every such person we will send out a sheet 
of blank forms, to be filled up with a brief sum- 
mary of the amount and condition of the leading 
crops of the different kinds. The blanks will be so 
arranged as to require very little writing in filling 
up, and therefore involve but little labor aside 
from that required to be well informed as to the 
condition of the crops. 30 

4. One of these blanks to be filled up at given 
dates, say May 10, June 10, July 10, and August 
10, and forwarded to this office. 

5. These reports will be published in tabular form 
in the Agriculturist, either in full or in a well- 
digested summary. 

So, in 1862, five monthly crop reports were 
published — May through September — by the 
American Agriculturist. The U.S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture was established in May 
1862 and its first crop report appeared in 
July 1863, using much of the pattern Orange 
Judd had worked out. 

Rarely, indeed, has an individual diagnosed 
a need in agriculture and met it as directly as 
editor Judd in his five monthly crop reports 
in 1862. His was the genius which saw be- 
yond previous writers to the need for current 
monthly information, as well as for annual es- 
timates which had been accomplished in the 
early work of the Patent Office. By having 
voluntary respondents report by mail early in 
each month, Judd was able to measure cur- 
rently both the acreage and the yield vari- 
ables in crop production. He asked respond- 
ents for comparative estimates on "area" and 
"prospects" for selected crops, and his jour- 
nalistic opportunity to work with voluntary 
correspondents who were his readers and sub- 
scribers accomplished much in a single crop 
season. Orange Judd and those who worked 
with him made crop reports news and they 
have been news ever since. The pattern used 
by the Department of Agriculture from the 
beginning of its statistical work in 1863 to 
the present employs Judd's method. 

30 The original questionnaire used for this purpose, 
presumably in sets of 5 for the 5 months to be re- 
ported, has not been located and was not available 
for this study. 



14 



The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agri- 
cultural Statistics 

Beginning with the early proposal of George 
Washington in 1796, various efforts were 
made to establish an agricultural bureau in 
the U.S. Government. At least four Presidents 
— Washington, Van Buren, Taylor, and Lin- 
coln — mentioned the subject in their messages 
to Congress. The proposal of Washington in 
December 1796 was not acted on in Congress. 
That of Van Buren in December 1838 re- 
sulted in the inclusion of agricultural data in 
the U.S. census in 1840. The recommenda- 
tion of Zachary Taylor in 1849 got no immedi- 



ate results, but that of Lincoln in December 

1861 resulted in enactment by Congress on 
May 15, 1862, of a law to create what has be- 
come the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

During the period many others, including 
men in the Patent Office, the agricultural 
societies, and the agricultural press, sug- 
gested and urged that an agricultural and 
statistical bureau be created in the Govern- 
ment. However, Congress was divided on the 
issue. It was not until the Civil War year of 

1862 that legislation was passed to establish 
a Department of Agriculture and transfer to 
it the agricultural work of the Patent Office. 



15 



PART II. THE FOUNDING PERIOD, 1862-1905 



PROLOGUE 

In retrospect, the period from May 15, 1862, 
when the U.S. Department of Agriculture was 
established by act of Congress to 1905 when 
the Crop Reporting Board was set up stands 
out as a distinct chapter in the history of the 
estimating service. 

The new Department under the Commis- 
sioner of Agriculture was immediately con- 
fronted with the problem of laying the founda- 
tion for a service fundamental to the develop- 
ment of agriculture, the basic enterprise of 
the Nation. The problems were tremendous 
and compounded by the chaos brought on by 
a devastating war which was still in progress. 
The accomplishments of the first few years 
were nothing short of amazing considering 
the difficulty of communication and the dis- 
ruption of farm operations. 

Two laws that were to have a profound ef- 
fect on agriculture were passed in 1862: the 
Homestead Act was approved on May 20 and 
the Morrill Land Grant College Act was ap- 
proved on July 2. 

Demand for food between 1861 and 1865 
stimulated interest in agricultural statistics. 
It was also responsible for more commerciali- 
zation of northern agriculture and temporary 
diversification of southern agriculture. This 
gave impetus to the first American agricul- 
tural revolution. 

The most significant development following 
the close of the Civil War was the rapid 
growth of the railroad system. An act of Con- 
gress, approved on July 1, 1862, granted land 
to the Union Pacific Railroad Company and 
the Central Pacific Railroad Company for con- 
struction of a transcontinental railroad. The 
road was completed with the joining of the 
rails of the two companies at Promontory 
Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869. By 1870 the 
total mileage of railroads had reached nearly 
53,000 miles. The Pennsylvania Railroad had 



developed a through route between Philadel- 
phia and Chicago, and the New York Central 
had worked out a through connection from 
New York and Chicago. The consolidation of 
a railroad net, by providing end-to-end con- 
nections, was not always a simple matter be- 
cause of the diversity of gages. New England 
and New York roads were generally standard 
gage — 4 feet, Sy^ inches. Southern railroads 
followed the plans of the South Carolina Rail- 
road of 5 feet, while in Pennsylvania and 
Ohio there were a variety of gages. Changing 
the gage involved changing the roadbed and 
the equipment. The standard gage did not be- 
come universal until the 1880's and by 1900 
the total mileage operated had increased to 
193,346 miles. 31 

The completion of the transcontinental rail- 
road in 1869 stimulated the movement of agri- 
culture into the Great Plains. The Wheat 
Belt began to move across the Mississippi 
River and the Corn Belt began to be stabilized 
in its present area. The Cotton Belt also 
started to move westward and by 1890 Texas 
was becoming the chief cotton State. 

New farm equipment became available. 
Gang plows and sulky plows came into use 
shortly after the Civil War. Springtooth har- 
rows also became available. In 1880, 3,000 
twine binders were marketed and horsedrawn 
combines came into use in the Pacific Coast 
wheat areas between 1890 and 1900. By 1890 
most of the basic potentiality of agricultural 
machinery dependent on horsepower had been 
discovered. Agriculture was becoming increas- 
ingly mechanized and commercialized. For ex- 
ample, it required 8 to 10 man-hours of labor 
to produce 1 acre (20 bushels) of wheat using 
a gang plow, seeder, harrow, binder, thresher, 
wagons, and horses as contrasted with 50 to 
60 man-hours in the period from 1825 to 1895. 



31 Jones, Eliot. Principles of Railway Transportation, 
pp. 43-66. The MacMillan Co., 1929. 



16 



It required 14 to 16 man-hours of labor to 
produce 1 acre (40 bushels) of corn using 2 
bottom gang plows, disc and peg tooth har- 
rows, and a 2-row planter. This compares with 
about 30 to 35 hours of man-labor with walk- 
ing plow, harrow, and hand planting during 
the period of the 1850's. 3 - 

The growth of the urban population neces- 
sitated bringing food supplies from increas- 
ingly distant areas. This, of course, created the 
need for facilities to assemble, ship, process, 
and distribute food in the growing cities. To 
perform this service, the commission mer- 
chants, brokers, and all of that group generally 
referred to as "middlemen" became increas- 
ingly important. 

A critical situation developed in 1893. The 
eastern cities were flooded with grain, pork, 
and beef. Farm prices sank very low and the 
business depression of 1893 added to the al- 
ready depressed farm situation so that debt 
paying became almost impossible, and mort- 
gage foreclosures were common. 

These difficulties brought forth many sug- 
gestions as to what should be done to avoid 
recurrence. Questions were raised as to the 
cost of production, railway rates, policies of 
large-scale processors, marketing methods, and 
market prices. There was criticism of the ex- 
changes — particularly the operations on the 
futures market. There were also suggestions 
for low-interest farm credit, regulation of 
the meatpacking industry, low loans on com- 
modities in storage, better crop reports, ad- 
justments of production by individuals, and 
many more, some of which seemed "far out" 
at the time, but not so strange 40 years later. 

In 1894, Senator W. A. Peffer offered the 
following explanation for the depressed agri- 
cultural situation: 



Over trading tends to create extravagant estimates 
of the supply and that in itself depresses prices. 
When prices are regulated by a market which 
appears to be very full, they will tend down- 
ward. 33 



32 U.S. Department of Agriculture. A Chronology of 
American Agriculture, 1790-1965. Econ. Res. Serv., 
SI. rev. 1966. (A fold-out chart.) 

33 U.S. Congress. Agricultural Depression : Causes 
and Remedies. Sen. Com. on Agr. and For. Report by 
Senator W. A. Peffer, Feb. 15, 1894, 53rd Cong., 3rd 
Sess., Sen. Rpt. 787. 



The first of four remedies suggested by the 
Senator was an improved system of crop es- 
timates and market information so that 
farmers might be informed on market supply. 

This collapse in the economy highlighted an 
area to which the new Department of Agri- 
culture had given little attention. The office 
of the Statistician had subsisted on $10,000 to 
$20,000 a year for the first 20 years of its 
existence. This office was actually providing 
the first and basic marketing service for 
American agriculture. From 1882 to 1902, the 
appropriations increased from $94,000 to 
$146,000, which was below the rate of increase 
for the overall appropriation. The emphasis 
in the Department had turned to more glam- 
orous work, such as : research in the physical 
sciences, development of new seed, introduc- 
tion of new varieties, and learning to grow 
"two blades of grass where one grew before." 
The Depression of 1893 brought to the fore 
the need for attention to the problems of 
marketing and distribution, for development 
of laws providing for rules of fair play in the 
marketplace, and for regulation of the means 
of transportation between the farm and the 
marketplace. Forty years later the Statisti- 
cian and his bureau were the principal ones 
in the Department of Agriculture giving at- 
tention to the economic problems of agricul- 
ture. 

It would seem that the difficulties and criti- 
cisms interspersed with the successes dur- 
ing the founding period acted as the forge 
that tempered and strengthened the metal 
out of which the Crop Reporting Service 
was formed. There is one question, at least, 
that seems to have been answered with some 
finality during the 43-year period. Objections 
during the early part of that period were often 
a broadside blast, seeking to eliminate the ser- 
vice entirely. These kinds of complaints often 
served to bring out support, and more often 
than not, gave the Statistician an opportunity 
to "unhinge" the generalizations on which 
such tirades were frequently based. Other cri- 
ticisms often proved helpful in correcting 
deficiencies and improving the service. At least 
by the turn of the century the question was 
no longer, "Shall there be a statistical report- 
ing service?", but rather, "What should be 



17 



done to improve and strengthen the service to 
better meet the ever changing needs of the 
people?" This attitude was most dramatically 
proven in 1905 when the basic principles of 
the service were severely threatened. 

CHAPTER 2. A BEGINNING IS MADE, 
1862-65 

Department of Agriculture Founded, 1 862 

When Abraham Lincoln was elected Presi- 
dent in 1860, the United States had 2 million 
farms valued at over $7 billion, on which there 
were some 9 million cattle and which produced 
839 million bushels of corn, 173 million bushels 
of wheat, and many other crops. 34 

The new President understood this only in 
a general way, as these statistics from the 
1860 census would not be available to the 
public for another two years due to the ponder- 
ous process of tabulating and summarizing 
the voluminous returns. It was this lack of 
knowledge of current conditions that sparked 
the efforts of farmers, agricultural societies, 
and editors of farm journals 35 to establish 
what Lincoln called "an agricultural and sta- 
tistical bureau." 36 

The long struggle to establish a separate 
Department of Agriculture of Cabinet rank 
and devoted to the interests of agriculture was 
part of the campaign to provide reliable sta- 
tistics concerning the Nation's sprawling agri- 
culture. This concern was wide and deep as it 
was commonly believed that the farmer was 
systematically fleeced by speculators who pos- 
sessed knowledge of crop conditions not avail- 
able to thousands of individual and isolated 
countrymen. 

After the term of Ellsworth's successor as 
Commissioner of Patents, Edmund C. Burke, 
ended in 1849, attempts of the agricultural 
division of the Patent Office to provide facts 
about crop production had become so anemic 
they were treated with scorn and derision. 



84 U.S. Bureau of the Census. Historical Statistics of 
the U.S., 1789-1945. Washington, D.C., 1949, pp. 
95-106. 

85 Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for 
1866, p. 526. Washington, 1867. 

38 True, Alfred C. A History of Agricultural Experi- 
mentation and Research in the United States, 1607- 
1925. Washington, D.C., Gov. Printing Off., 1937, p. 40 
(quoting Lincoln's Message to Congress, Dec. 3, 1861). 



Such criticisms should not obscure the fact 
that the Patent Office data were used by the 
public. For example, in the only extensive talk 
Lincoln ever gave on agriculture he said, 
"Many years ago I saw it stated in a Patent 
Office Report that eighteen bushels was the 
average crop of wheat throughout the United 
States." 37 Bad as the Patent Office statistics 
may have been, they were the best available 
and so were used. An Indiana farmer, Lewis 
Bollman, later the Departmental Statistician, 
said: 

The Patent Office reports of transactions of for- 
eign societies, or scientific essays are so uncon- 
nected with practical matters, and written in such 
technical and scholastic language as to be not only 
distasteful to the farmers, but unintelligible to 
them. This was the legitimate result of the fact 
that the chief clerk was usually a mere writer 
without any particular acquaintance with agri- 
culture. They knew nothing of farmers or of 
farming. 38 

Such grass-roots clamor, swelled by the angry 
voice of the farm press, 39 became so persistent 
that a succession of Commissioners of the 
Patent Office urged that the statistical work 
be shifted elsewhere, perhaps to a new Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. 40 

Withdrawal of Southern members of Con- 
gress following secession made possible the 
passage of the Homestead Act, the Land-Grant 
College Act, and the Act of May 15, 1862, es- 
tablishing the Department of Agriculture. 
Congress provided for a separate Department 
headed by a Commissioner who was responsi- 
ble to the President but who did not have 
Cabinet status. 

Next to interest in seeing a Department of 
Agriculture established, the farm journals 
were most concerned as to who would head the 
new establishment. Their hopes and expecta- 
tions were high. The American Agriculturist 
in its issue of March 1862 under the caption 
"Who Shall Be Head of It?" declared that the 
Commissioner must be "an intelligent, capable, 
honest man, with special talent and qualifi- 



37 Wisconsin State Fair, Sept. 30, 1859 In Washing- 
ton, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Agriculture, U.S. Dept. 
Agr., 1937. p. 43. 

38 Lewis Bollman to Senator H. S. Lane of Indiana, 
Dec. 26, 1862, National Archives. 

38 Working Farmer 4:125, 169 (1852), 8:25-26, 217 
(1856). 

10 U.S. Commissioner of Patents, Report (Washing- 
ton, 1851), Pt. 2, p. 653-656. 



18 



cations for the post; one who can take in a 
broad view of the general agricultural and 
horticultural interests of the whole country." 
In May the editor again stressed the need for 
a competent head of the new Department and 
pointed out that the incumbent would receive 
"the comfortable salary of $3,000 a year." 41 
A decision was not long in coming. 

On July 1, 1862, Isaac Newton, who had 
headed the agricultural work of the Patent 
Office, was appointed the first Commissioner 
of the Department of Agriculture by Presi- 
dent Lincoln. The reactions to this appoint- 
ment were mixed and sometimes caustic. The 
"Rural New Yorker" greeted the news with a 
derisive headline, "Who is Isaac Newton?" It 
then followed with a sarcastic editorial that 
castigated the new Commissioner and alleged 
he was so illiterate his writings included such 
words as "lettis, shoogar, inons (onions) and 
sausgee (sausage)." 42 

The American Agriculturist evidenced its 
chagrin in its issue of August 1862, with this 
bleak announcement: 

The Bureau of Agriculture — Isaac Newton of 
Pennsylvania, Commissioner, and Richard C. 
McCormick, of New York, Chief Clerk. This is the 
state of the case. It is our duty to our readers 
to announce the fact. We wish to say nothing 
more on the subject at present." 

Since Newton was the first head of the De- 
partment of Agriculture and inaugurated its 
statistical service, it is appropriate to probe 
a little further into the story of this contro- 
versial figure. According to his granddaughter, 
Issac Newton was born in Burlington County, 
N.J., March 31, 1800, to Isaac and Mary 
(Newton) Newton, a family of English an- 
cestry and Quaker faith. The young father 
soon died leaving an 18-year old widow and 
baby son Isaac. The mother and son lived for 
years in the farm home of her prosperous 
father-in-law. The growing boy attended 



"American Agriculturist, Mar. 1862, p. 68; May 
1862, p. 136. 

"Rural New Yorker (Aug. 30, 1862). This appears 
to have been grossly unfair in view of Newton's ac- 
complishments as Commissioner. 

"American Agriculturist, Aug. 1862, p. 228. The 
Chief Clerk, McCormick, later became Governor of 
Arizona and contributed comments on the agricultural 
situation to his old colleagues in the Department. See 
Monthly Report (November-December 1866), p. 442. 



"county and state" schools, but apparently did 
not continue on to college. When 21 years of 
age, Newton married Dorothy Birdsall, and 
took over management of two adjoining farms 
in Delaware County, Pa., which he developed 
into a model of "neatness, order and produc- 
tiveness." " Casting about for additional in- 
come Newton opened an "ice cream and con- 
fectionary shop in Philadelphia." 45 

About 1854, Newton "against his wife's ad- 
vice" 46 bought a 1,000-acre tract of land in 
Virginia. When his wife refused to move to 
Virginia, Newton was compelled to operate 
his farm through overseers. A combination of 
absentee management, malaria, and war de- 
vastation brought disaster and in 1861 Newton 
was in Washington, D.C., looking for a Gov- 
ernment job. Over the years Newton had sent 
butter and other choice products 47 from his 
farm to the White House and more recently 
had become acquainted with President Lincoln. 
In August 1861 Newton was made superin- 
tendent 48 of the Agricultural Division of the 
Patent Office and the next spring he found it 
a short step to the Commissionership of the 
new Department of Agriculture. 

Thus the Department of Agriculture made 
its start in borrowed basement rooms — headed 
by a politically minded, bankrupt farmer, un- 
der a President who considered himself "... 
no sort of a farmer." 49 

Although the Department's beginning was 
hardly auspicious, the times were indeed 
"pregnant with mighty events." 50 The Organic 
Act gave wide latitude for action and Newton 
proved to be energetic and basically sound in 



" Amanda A. Newton. Typed statement in Library 
of U.S.D.A. Perhaps unconsciously Miss Newton used 
the same words to describe the model farm as had 
been employed in 1872 by James M. Swank in his De- 
partment of Agriculture, Its History and Objects 
(Washington, D.C., Gov. Printing Off., 1872), p. 27. 

45 Amanda Newton. Ibid. 

48 Ibid. 

47 These included a "fatted calf" to President-elect 
Fillmore according to Amanda Newton's typed state- 
ment. 

"Swank, James M., p. 24. 

4B U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washington, Jef- 
ferson, Lincoln, and Agriculture. Washington, D.C., 
Gov. Printing Off., 1937. 

50 Swank, James M., p. 24. 



19 



his proposals. The Commissioner adopted these 
"objects" for the Department: 51 

1. Collecting, arranging, publishing, and 
disseminating, for the benefit of the Nation, 
statistical and other useful information in re- 
gard to agriculture in its widest acception. 

2. Collecting, from different parts of our 
own and foreign lands, such valuable animals, 
cereals, seeds, plants, slips, and cuttings as 
may be obtained by exchange, purchase, or 
gift. 

3. Answering the inquiries of farmers and 
others on all matters relating to agriculture. 

4. Testing, by experiment, the value of dif- 
ferent agricultural implements and their adap- 
tation to the purposes intended, as well as 
testing the value of cereals, seeds, and plants, 
and their adaptation to our soil and climate. 

5. Analysis, by means of a chemical labora- 
tory, of various soils, grains, fruits, plants, 
vegetables, and manures, and publishing the 
results. 

6. Establishing a professorship of botany 
and entomology. 

7. Establishing an agricultural library and 
museum. 

First Annual Report 

The first "object" listed by Newton per- 
tained to the collection of agricultural statis- 
tics and was in keeping with Section 3 of the 
Act establishing the Department, which read 
in part as follows: 

It shall be the duty of the Commissioner of 
Agriculture to acquire and preserve in his depart- 
ment all information concerning agriculture which 
he can obtain by means of books and correspond- 
ence and by practical and scientific experiments 
(accurate records of which experiments shall be 
kept in his office), by the collection of statistics, 
and by any other appropriate means within his 
power. 52 

Commissioner Newton energetically pursued 
this object throughout his period in office and 
was responsible for the start of the statistical 
services of the Department. One of his first 
actions was to utilize the talents of Jacob 
Richards Dodge, who had been working in 
the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office, 



to assist in preparing the Commissioner's re- 
port to the President. 53 This first Annual Re- 
port of the Department of Agriculture was 
submitted by Commissioner Newton to Presi- 
dent Lincoln with a letter of transmittal dated 
January 1, 1863. 

The Commissioner's report was preceded by 
the full text of the Act of May 15, 1862, 
establishing the Department. Newton then re- 
viewed the history of agriculture, and claimed 
that "there has been no great and general ad- 
vance in agriculture in modern times till with- 
in the past thirty years." 54 The report itself, 
however, was a notable achievement for a 
fledgling agency with a small staff operating 
under wartime conditions. Articles on many 
phases of agriculture written by various auth- 
ors were incorporated as part of the Commis- 
sioner's report, comprising in all a volume of 
632 pages. A distinctive feature was the sec- 
tion on agricultural statistics. 

Statistics from Census of 1860 

The pages devoted to statistics included in- 
formation from the Census of 1860 pertaining 
to agriculture for the year 1859, estimates of 
production for 1863, weather data, and export 
records. Although Newton's letter of trans- 
mittal was dated January 1, 1863, delays in 
printing made it possible to include estimates 
for the 1863 crop year. In keeping with the 
times, the census data were shown separately 
for "Loyal" and "Disloyal" States. Apparently 
it was believed necessary to explain why the 
Department was publishing Census Bureau 
data and Newton did so in these words: 

The Census returns for 1860 having been pub- 
lished, it is due to agriculture that at the earliest 
moment returns of the principal agricultural pro- 
ducts should be republished in the annual report 
of the Department of Agriculture. 65 

The Census figures were historical data, 
that is, they referred to conditions 2 years 
previous rather than to the present or to pros- 



B1 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1862. 
Washington, 1863, p. 20. They had originally been sug- 
gested some 20 years earlier by Jesse Buell. 

52 See full text in appendix. 



53 True, Alfred Charles. A History of Agricultural 
Experimentation and Research in the U.S., 1607-1925. 
p. 45. 

54 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture, Report 1862, 
Washington, 1863, p. 7. 

55 Ibid., p. 546. 



20 



pects for the future. Although such data were 
useful they failed to meet many needs. As the 
Commissioner's report states : 

The census returns give the amount only of the 
crops, and when an estimate of value is made, 
the prices of a seaport, usually of New York, 
have been selected, and by these the value de- 
clared. In this way values have been exhibited 
far above the real value, having no other existence 
than in this false mode of estimating them. The 
census has never returned the yield per acre, nor 
the number of acres under cultivation. Whether the 
comparative number of acres was increasing and 
the yield per acre decreasing, or the contrary, 
thus showing whether our agricultural production, 
represented by immense crops, was at the expense 
of the soil, or whether an improved system of 
farming was gradually restoring the exhausted 
soils of past years, were questions of the highest 
magnitude but of which no one could speak with 
any certainty. 56 

The Commissioner clearly felt that he had a 
mandate from Congress and the public to pro- 
vide agricultural statistics that would be 
timely and of practical usefulness. Facilities 
for collecting extensive and reliable data were 
nonexistent but the Commissioner, aided by 
J. R. Dodge and James S. Frinnell, Chief Clerk 
of the Department, took energetic action, 
which he recorded in these words : 

With means totally inadequate for the collection 
of statistics by which any of these important 
purposes might be accomplished, the Commissioner 
of Agriculture, nevertheless, sought to obtain those 
within his power, and for useful objects. During 
last winter he issued circulars to every county 
in the loyal States, making inquiries relative to 
the prices of agricultural products in them and 
the average yield per acre of the leading crops. 
He issued others, during the summer and fall 
months, to make known the monthly condition of 
the crops, their amounts, etc. The medium, for 
communicating the knowledge obtained through 
the latter to the public, was monthly reports. . . . 

These few sentences show that the Commis- 
sioner displayed intelligence in planning these 
first statistical surveys. With commendable re- 
straint the subject matter of the circulars was 
limited to two "useful objects," prices of farm 
products and average yields per acre of lead- 
ing crops. The effort was to get returns from 
"every county in the loyal States," thus mak- 
ing the returns of national significance. The 
surveys were repeated monthly to keep abreast 
of changes in crop conditions. Reports were 
published to inform the public of the agri- 



cultural situation. No doubt Commissioner 
Newton was guided by the experience of 
Orange Judd the previous season 5T and by 
the skilled hand and solid judgment of his 
statistical assistant, Jacob R. Dodge, but even 
so Newton must be given credit for recogniz- 
ing and accepting good advice. 

There is some confusion as to just when 
this first report of the U.S. Commissioner of 
Agriculture was written. The Commissioner's 
letter transmitting his first Annual Report is 
dated January 1, 1863, but the report includes 
a record of donations to the Department up to 
June 30, 1863. The data referred to were for 
crops of 1862, hence information had to be 
obtained near or after harvest. Therefore, 
the evidence seems conclusive that "last win- 
ter" referred to the winter of 1862-63 and 
the "summer and fall" of 1863. 

First Crop Estimates 

Having collected information from farmers 
in every county concerning yield per acre and 
value of crops for 1862, the Department was 
still confronted with the formidable task of 
converting the sample information into mean- 
ingful State data. The most recent "complete" 
data available were those from the Census 
for the year 1859, but these were faulty be- 
cause the usual incompleteness was com- 
pounded by the "indifferent" crops of that 
year. On the other hand, the crops of 1862 
were the "best ever grown." 58 To help bridge 
this gap the statisticians had available the re- 
turns from the circulars sent during the winter 
of 1862-63 to "every county in the loyal 
States" and special State reports for Ohio, 
which was believed to have a quite reliable 
statistical service. The indications of crop con- 
ditions in the various States revealed by these 
statistics and by comments of correspondents 
guided the statistician in arriving at a pro- 
duction figure for each State. These data were 
considered by Department statisticians to be 
"an approximation to correctness." The sta- 
tisticians felt compelled to defend them, how- 
ever, by pointing out that differences in the 



68 Ibid., p. 575. 



67 American Agriculturist 21 :26, June 1862. 

58 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1862, 
(Washington, 1863) p. 574; also pages 575 and 576 
for further details of estimating methods. 



21 



data between States had real significance. 
They explained: 

Again, there is a striking difference between the 
price of corn in Ohio and Indiana, which are 
neighboring States, with nearly equal market fac- 
ilities in many respects. But large quantities of 
corn in Ohio are consumed in distilleries, and 
much shipped eastward. Indiana, although much 
smaller than her neighbors in square miles, is the 
largest hog-producing State in the Union. Its corn 
is fed chiefly to this stock, and hence its market 
price represents the value of corn fed to hogs, 
while in Ohio it exhibits its value when hauled to 
the nearest railroad depot. 

The significance of such "local peculiarities" 
and the importance of understanding them 
was fully appreciated by the Department 
staff and characteristically they included in 
their first report comments on the economic 
implications of the statistics. 

After determination of total production of 
selected crops by States, acreages for 1862 
were computed by dividing by the appropriate 
yields per acre. These yields had been adopted 
from averages shown by the circulars re- 
turned by county correspondents. 59 Such meth- 
ods can be criticized as highly subjective and 
unscientific, but they were valuable as indi- 
cating a level of production adequate for the 
needs of the Northern States in the war effort. 



Division of Statistics Organized 

The increased interest in collecting statis- 
tics led to the establishment of the Division of 
Statistics in the spring of 1863. The Commis- 
sioner decided that Lewis Bollman, a farmer 
from near Bloomington, Ind., was the man to 
head the Division. Perhaps his decision was 
influenced because Bollman had written, on 
December 26, 1862, to "Friend Lane" (Senator 
H. S. Lane of Indiana), stoutly defending the 
creation of a separate Department of Agri- 
culture and expressing a willingness to wait 
and see how the new Commissioner performed 
before condemning him. 60 Bollman was sworn 
in on May 28, 1863, and thus became the first 



person to serve as Chief Statistician of the 
Department. 61 

He was born in New Boston, N. H., Septem- 
ber 28, 1823, and was educated in local schools 
and academies. In 1879 he was awarded an 
honorary A.M. degree by Dartmouth College. 
He had wide experience as a teacher and 
journalist. 62 

Bollman was soon heavily engaged in his 
new duties. For example, for the Report of the 
Commissioner for 1862, he wrote an article 
on cultivation of sorghum; an "Article on the 
Wheat Plant"; a letter of transmittal to the 
Commissioner; a report on statistics in which 
he discussed census data of 1860; a report on 
statistics of 1862 giving details of procedures 
used in collecting and analyzing the statistics; 
and finally a report on the agriculture of Cal- 
ifornia. 63 

Monthly Reports Started July 10, 1863 

Despite the agonies inherent in setting up 
a new organization, the Division of Statistics 
moved rapidly ahead with the effort to collect 
and publish monthly reports of crop condi- 
tions. 61 On July 10, 1863, the Commissioner 
submitted "to the consideration of the farm- 
ing community" a report covering the condi- 
tion of crops for May and June, and promised 
that "a similar report will be issued on the 
tenth of every month." The Report states in 
part: 



59 No record is available as to the number of re- 
spondents to these circulars but in the Monthly Report 
for September 1863, p. 14, it is stated that the circulars 
were sent "to about two thousand correspondents." 

60 Original letter in Library of Congress. Photostatic 
copy in USDA Library. 



01 See letter in Bollman personnel file in National 
Archives, Christensen to Richardson, 1940. 

62 Alfred C. True. A History of Agriculture Experi- 
mentation and Research in the U.S., 1607-1925. 

03 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1862. pp. 
65-95, 140-47, 547-99. 

04 U.S. Department of Agriculture Monthly Report, 
May, June, and July, 1863. 

Publishing Record of Monthly Reports 
May-Dec, 1863 (Monthly) Issued by the Department 
of Agriculture. Jan.-Dec, 1864 (Bi-Monthly) Issued by 
the Department of Agriculture. Jan. 1865-Dec. 1876 
(Monthly) Issued by the Department of Agriculture. 
New Series, Misc. Pub. Jan. 1877-1882 Issued by the 
Dept. of Agriculture. New Series, 1-10 Oct. 1883-Aug. 
1884 Issued by the Division of Statistics. New Series, 
26-36, Jan. 1886-Dec. 1886 Issued Report of Statistic- 
ian. New Series, 48-58, Jan. 1887-Dec. 1888 Issued 
Report of Statistician. New Series 70-80, Jan. 1890- 
Dec. 1890 Issued Report of Statistician. 



22 



The Agricultural Department in issuing its first 
monthly report of the condition of crops, desires 
to make known its purpose in preparing these re- 
ports and the means it has adopted to collect the 
information embraced in them. 
1. The relationships between agriculture, manufac- 
tures, and commerce, demand that something 
should be done to obtain and publish, at brief 
intervals during the crop season, reliable informa- 
tion of the amount and condition of these 
crops. . . . Ignorance of the state of our crops in- 
variably leads to speculation, in which oftentimes, 
the farmer does not obtain just prices and . . . 
the consumer is not benefited. 

2. Holding these views the Commissioner of 
Agriculture believed it was his duty to adopt some 
plan to obtain each month during the months 
from May to October inclusive, general informa- 
tion of the amount and condition of our leading 
agricultural products. ... It was desirable to 
avoid perplexing interrogatories and to select those 
only which could be answered briefly and defi- 
nitely. . . . the questions relate to but two mat- 
ters, the amount sown in 1863 compared with 
that in 1862, and the appearance of the crops in 
May and June. The answers are given in figures, 
by adopting 10 as the representative of an average 
of the amount of acres sown; making each number 
below or above it represent one-tenth of a de- 
crease or increase. So 10 represents also an aver- 
age appearance. The figure 9 would be one-tenth 
below the average appearance, and 11 would be 
one-tenth above it. . . . as farmers communicate 
to each other and to persons in town, especially 
to dealers in produce, the state and amount of their 
crops, there soon obtains in every county a know- 
ledge of their condition, whether more or less than 
an average has been planted, whether injured, and 
by what cause and to what extent. With no great 
trouble, this information can be collected and 
transmitted through the plan adopted. From no 
other source can the condition of growing crops 
be ascertained. 

It is designed to issue the circulars about the 
tenth day of each month, and have them mailed 
for their return on the first day of the ensuing 
month. This will give time to take averages of the 
answers, to prepare the [meteorological] tables, 
and to make such statements in the report as may 
be desired, and have it printed and distributed to 
correspondents, with the next circular by the tenth. 

The above statements and plans were emi- 
nently sensible and established a pattern of 
reports that has been followed ever since. The 
questionnaire was restricted to two basic ques- 
tions; they were plainly worded, a simple 
means of reporting in lOths was provided, a 
reasonable period was allowed for reply, the 
return postage was prepaid to encourage re- 
sponse, and the inquiries went to farmers fa- 
miliar with crop conditions. There were, of 
course, many difficulties; enough to delay is- 
suance of the first report. Some of these were 
the irregularities of the mails, delay in the 
printing of the circulars, and time required by 
correspondents to make arrangements to pro- 
cure the desired information. All of these 
difficulties are very familiar to anyone experi- 



enced in the collection, tabulation, analysis, 
and publication of agricultural statistics. 

The Commissioner pointed out to his corre- 
spondent that: 

The envelopes accompanying the circulars for July 
are prepaid. This course was rendered necessary 
by the construction given by the Post-master Gen- 
eral to the law of last session of Congress, regu- 
lating the franking privilege. That law declares 
that 'all official communications addressed to the 
several executive departments by an officer re- 
sponsible to that department, who shall mark it 
'official' with his signature thereto, shall be free 
of charge, but all others must be prepaid.' .... 
Rather than be unfaithful to the duties demanded 
of him by the act of Congress and by the interests 
of agriculture, the Commissioner has determined 
to prepay all postage of his regular correspond- 
ents. . . 

This arrangement was essential if adequate 
returns were to be forthcoming from the farm- 
er reports. The Commissioner had moved 
promptly to arrange a system compatible with 
the law. The legal ruling requiring the sending 
of "prepaid envelopes instead of franks for 
returns" 6;> to the 2,000 correspondents added 
greatly to the expense of operating the statis- 
tical service. However, in his Bi-Monthly Re- 
port issued in July 1864, Newton was finally 
able to inform his correspondents that the 
Congress had restored free postal communica- 
tion between them and the Department. 66 

The first Monthly Report actually covered 2 
months, May and June. A table for May gave 
the condition in lOths by States and a "gen- 
eral average" for grains, potatoes, sorghum, 
and cotton. After the table was set up for 
printing, a few late returns came in from Cali- 
fornia and Utah and these were presented in 
a brief narrative statement below the table. 
There was a similar condition table for June 
that included, in addition to the items for 
May, data on tobacco, grass, flax, and wool. 
Correspondents in 21 Northern and Border 
States and the Nebraska Territory reported 
for June. The meteorological observations pro- 
vided by the Smithsonian Institution were an 
additional feature of the June report. These 
weather data were obtained from observers in 
various parts of the "loyal" States who were 



65 U.S. Department of Agriculture Monthly Report. 
Nov. 1863, p. 1. 

66 U.S. Department of Agriculture Bi-Monthly Report. 
April and May 1864, July 1864, p. 5. 



23 



"unsalaried and unpaid, save in the conscious- 
ness of doing a good work." 67 

The inauguration of monthly reports by the 
Division of Statistics was welcomed by the 
agricultural press, including the American 
Agriculturist, which printed the tables with 
appropriate credit lines and commented edi- 
torially : 

Beyond all question, the Agricultural Depart- 
ment can confer a great benefit upon the entire 
country by an extended and properly executed 
labor of this kind. . . . We hope the hew Depart- 
ment of Agriculture will spare no effort or expense 
to carry out, on an extended, comprehensive scale, 
the system of gathering these important statistics. 
Let them be so carefully collected and collated as 
to be absolutely reliable, and we can promise 
both hearty cooperation, and the grateful appre- 
ciation of the entire country — not only of farmers 
but of all other classes. Comprehensive, accurate, 
and prompt reports of this kind, collected at the 
expense of a few thousands, or tens of thousands 
of dollars, as the case may be, will save many 
millions. 63 

The Patent Office had been severely criti- 
cized for its agricultural reports and Commis- 
sioner Newton from the outset seemed fearful 
of continuation of like treatment. He was 
sensitive to critical comments, actual or antici- 
pated, and from the beginning took a defen- 
sive attitude in nearly all instances of criti- 
cism. In his first Monthly Report, July 10, 1863, 
he wrote, "Whatever imperfections it (the 
statistical system) may now have will be 
speedily overcome." In his second Monthly Re- 
port, August 10, 1863, Newton put up a shield : 

If the farmers of counties having such delin- 
quent societies do not receive these reports and 
seeds, they will know that the blame does not rest 
on this Department. 

In his third report, September 10, 1863, the 
Commissioner delivered an essay on "Different 
Modes of Reporting the Crops" in which he 
took to task those critics who made a train 
trip and then supposed that their casual ob- 
servations could be compared to those of the 
Department's correspondents. The sensitive 
nature of the Commissioner was further re- 
vealed in subsequent reports as criticism 
of his conduct of the office mounted. Men 
pioneering in any new work can expect a bar- 
rage of criticism as failures inevitably occur, 
particularly where complaints can be based on 



mere difference of opinion as in Newton's day. 
However, as the statistical work developed, it 
continued to be lambasted when its forecasts 
and estimates made significant deviations 
from known production or inventories. 69 



Special Articles Added to Monthly Reports 

Farmers from all over the North turned to 
the young Department for "information run- 
ning the whole range of agricultural learn- 
ing." 70 So that 



. . . these matters may be understood by all, 
and that the information sought by one may be 
known to all, it is the intention of the Commis- 
sioner to give, in the monthly reports, material 
that shall serve as a general reply to intelligent 
questioners. 



The first of such articles dealt with mildew of 
the grape and was carried in the report of 
August 10, 1863. Thus the Monthly Report 
early became an omnibus carrying agricultural 
information on a variety of subjects in addi- 
tion to crop conditions and inventory statis- 
tics. 

Agricultural conditions abroad also com- 
manded attention. The October 1863 Report 
carried a long and involved analysis of "The 
Foreign Markets for American Breadstuffs." 
The concern with foreign statistics was to 
continue and to make them more meaningful 
to our farmers the Commissioner converted 
foreign terms such as "quarters," "shillings," 
etc., into American weights, measures, and 
currency. 71 

A review of the monthly reports shows the 
alertness of the Division of Statistics to the 
needs of the farmer. Following the severe and 
widespread freezes in August and September 



87 U.S. Department of Agriculture Monthly Report, 
July 1862, p. 1, May and June 1863. 

68 American Agriculturist, p. 200. May 1863. 



69 See Reports of the Keep Commission on Depart- 
ment methods, Senate Doc. 464, 59th Cong., 1st Sess., 
1906; also the Abernethy Report, 1952. Although 
critical of methods, these congressional investigations 
always resulted in an improved and expanded statisti- 
cal service. 

70 U.S. Department of Agriculture Monthly Report, 
August 1863, p. 12. 

71 Ibid., p. 22. 



24 



1863, r - the September, October, and Novem- 
ber reports included correspondents' answers 
to questions about "the condition of all the 
fall crops," 73 "value of the injured corn" and 
information concerning "stock hogs," 74 out- 
look for crops in 1864, and amount and ap- 
pearance indicated for fall-sown wheat, rye, 
and barley, and for timothy meadows. 75 An- 
swers to questions about "the existence of hog 
cholera" and "the number and condition of 
the fattening hogs and cattle" were also in- 
cluded. These items were considered of vital 
importance "because they constitute the provi- 
sion trade of the country, and supply so great 
consumption of our armies." 76 

It is not surprising that a schedule of this 
magnitude could not be maintained. As a re- 
sult, the Monthly Report for November (is- 
sued in December 1863) stated: 

No monthly report will be made for December 
and from a monthly it will be changed to one 
issued every two months. This change is rendered 
necessary because these reports are now em- 
bracing too many and too important subjects to 

be properly prepared in so short a time 

Hereafter the circulars (questionnaires) will be 
issued in the beginning of the month, and not re- 
turned until near the close of it, thus giving the 
desired time to obtain information. 

The desire was to answer important ques- 
tions asked of the Department without "occu- 
pying any ground that belonged to the 
agricultural press." 

Plans for an Improved Statistical Service 

In the fall of 1863, having had several 
months of experience with statistical surveys, 
Newton presented a discussion of the problem 
and made recommendations for future develop- 
ment that, in retrospect, appear quite sound. 77 
His proposals in brief were : 

1. Authority be given the Department to col- 
lect current statistics on manufacturers and 
commerce as well as on agriculture. 

2. A quinquennial census to be taken by the 
Department of Agriculture. 



72 Ibid, p. 22. 

73 Ibid, Sept. 1863, p. 1. 

74 Ibid, pp. 24 and 25. 

75 Ibid, Nov. 1863, p. 2. 

78 U.S. Department of Agriculture Monthly Report, 
Oct. 1863, p. 5. 

" U.S. Department of Agriculture Bi-Monthly Re- 
port, Sept.-Oct., 1963. p. 5. 



3. Two thousand copies of an "unabridged 
report of the Census," and other documents 
and reports to be sent to correspondents as 
"payment" for their assistance. 

4. Rain-gages and thermometers be sent to 
correspondents voluntarily reporting weather 
observations. 

5. Authority to send circulars to American 
consuls overseas to elicit statistics on foreign 
agriculture. 

6. Authority to send an agent to visit prin- 
cipal countries of Europe to establish a sys- 
tematic reporting service "and to learn more 
about the agricultural capabilities of the vari- 
ous nations." 

7. Restoration of franking privilege to the 
Department. 

8. Increase in number of copies of monthly 
reports — perhaps to 50,000. 

9. Sale of statistical reports to the public 
at cost. 

County Correspondents Selected 

By April 1864 the Statistical Division had 
concluded that, instead of an indiscriminate 
and indefinite number of correspondents in 
the counties, one outstanding correspondent 
should be selected for each county. He would 
in turn select up to five assistants. Circulars 
would be sent to the county correspondent, 
who would distribute them to his assistants, 
summarize their returns to him, and forward 
one consolidated report for the county to the 
Department in Washington. 78 Instructions to 
this effect were given in the Bi-Monthly Re- 
port for April 1864. Exceptions were the Con- 
federate States and also the Far West where 
"mail communications between the seat of 
government and the Pacific States and Terri- 
tories do not allow them to be placed in the 
tables with those of the Atlantic States." 79 
Also included was a 10-page discussion en- 
titled "English, Prussian and American Modes 
of Estimating Their Annual Agricultural Pro- 
duction." B0 The system used here was rated 
superior and belief was expressed "that before 



78 Ibid. 

79 U.S. Department of Agriculture Bi-Monthly Re- 
port, Sept.-Oct., p. 5. 

80 Ibid, March and April, 1864, p. 7-18. 



25 



long this plan will be adopted in all commer- 
cial nations." 81 

Monthly Reports Resumed 

Beginning with January 1865 monthly re- 
ports were resumed by the Department. An 
indication of some of the difficulties involved 
can be gained from the Commissioner's state- 
ment: 

The return day of the circulars (question- 
naires), by which information of the condition of 
the crops, stocks, etc. is communicated the 1st day 
of the month, but it is usually the 18th or 20th 
before all of them are received. It requires from 
fifteen to twenty days to have the reports printed, 
folded, stitched and trimmed. This cannot be 
shortened until the war is over. A monthly report 
cannot, therefore, be published with this delay, 
each month, for the circulars. It often, too, re- 
quires a week or more to prepare the tables that 
are based on the circulars. 82 

J. R. Dodge Appointed Chief Statistician 

In the spring of 1866, Lewis Bollman, who 
had served as Chief Statistician of the Depart- 
ment since early in 1863, resigned and his 
place was taken by a most remarkable person, 
the redoubtable Jacob Richards Dodge. 83 For 
nearly 30 years, before he resigned on March 
20, 1893, Dodge was a dominant figure in the 
Department. His great energy, sound knowl- 
edge of agriculture, flair for statistics, and 
facile pen made him "truly a wheel horse in 
the building of the United States Department 
of Agriculture." 84 Dodge had been with the 
Agricultural Division of the Patent Office and 
when the Department of Agriculture was es- 
tablished, he accepted an appointment as a 
clerk at a salary of $1,600 per annum. 85 He 
worked closely with Chief Statistician Boll- 
man in inaugurating the statistical program 86 , 



81 Ibid., p. 16. 

82 U.S. Department of Agriculture Monthly Report, 
Jan. 1865, p. 3. 

83 Effective date of his appointment was Sept. 30, 
1867, according to his personnel folder in National 
Archives. The Dictionary of American Biography, 
Vol. 5, pp. 349-350, gives the date as May 1866; this 
coincides with the Monthly Report for that month 
which carries a statement signed by J. R. Dodge that 
"the first four numbers, up to April, were under the 
editorship of my predecessor as statistician, Mr. Lewis 
Bollman," appeared in the 1867 Volume. 

84 Taylor, H. C. and Taylor, Anne Dewees. The Story 
of Agricultural Economics, 1840-1932. Iowa State Col. 
Press, Ames, 1952, p. 183. 

ss Dodge personnel file in National Archives. 



26 



and prepared the estimates for 1862 published 
in the first Annual Report of the Department. 
Prior to his work with the Department, Dodge 
had been Head of an Academy in Mississippi, 
editor and publisher of the "Oasis" in his 
home town of Nashua, N. H., and of the 
"American Ruralist" of Springfield, Ohio, and 
had served as Senate Reporter of the "Wash- 
ington National Intelligencer" and of the "Na- 
tional Republican." 

All States Covered and Continuous Series on 
Major Crops and Livestock 

The year 1866 was notable in the develop- 
ment of the statistical service of the Depart- 
ment, as regular reports were started on 
numbers of livestock and on condition, acre- 
age, yield per acre, and production of principal 
crops, which have been continued to the 
present. 87 

The January 1866 Monthly Report gave, for 
22 loyal States and the Nebraska Territory, 
average yield per acre for 1864 and 1865 and 
average price per bushel on January 1, 1865, 
and January 1, 1866, for winter wheat, rye, 
barley, oats, corn, buckwheat, potatoes, leaf 
tobacco, hay, and sorghum molasses. Tables 
also showed the amount and condition of the 
fall-sown crops — wheat, rye, and barley — in 
percentages of the previous year. The "condi- 
tion of the weather" in November and Decem- 
ber was indicated by recording the number of 
reports received as favorable, wet, very wet, 
dry, very dry, snow. 

Statistics on livestock were presented for 
the first time in the March report. 88 For 
horses, mules, cattle, and oxen, milch cows, 
sheep, and hogs, these items were reported: 

Average number of cattle and oxen compared with 
that of January 1864. 

Average number of cattle and oxen compared with 
that of February 1865. 

Average price per head of same under 1 year 
old, 1865. 

Average price per head of same between 1 and 2 
years old, 1865. 



88 Swank, op. cit., p. 27. 

87 U.S.D.A. The Crop and Livestock Reporting Service 
of the U.S., (Washington: Government Printing 
Office), 1933, p. 3. 

88 U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, March 1866, pp. 148-152. 



Average price per head of same between 1 and 2 

years old, 1866. 
Average price per head of same between 2 and 3 

years old, 1865. 
Average price per head of same between 2 and 3 

years old, 1866. 
Average price per head of same over 3 years 

old, 1865. 
Average price per head of same over 3 years 

old, 1866. 

In the September 1866 issue of the Monthly- 
Report the Department announced: "For the 
first time all portions of the country are in- 
cluded .... In a month or two the crops of 
southern correspondents will be more complete 
and better organized." S9 The Report stated in 
respect to its estimates for the South, 

The returns may not be sufficiently numerous 
to afford entirely accurate basis for estimates, but 
it is believed that fair approximations have been 
made. They make estimates of farm stock as com- 
pared with the numbers of 1860 as follows: horses, 
68 percent; mules, 70; cattle, 65; sheep, 80; hogs, 
56 percent. 90 

The returns for September 1866 indicated a 
cotton crop of "about 1,800,000 bales." 91 The 
estimate of probable cotton production was 
based on reports of county correspondents who 
estimated cotton production for their county 
"in tenths, not of an average crop, but of the 
excessive and never-equalled crop which the 
Census reports." 9 - Official estimates for that 
year are now shown at 1,948,000 bales. The 
report commented that Texas was swarming 
with cattle accumulated by lack of markets 
during the war : 

Immense numbers of cattle are already collected 
for driving or shipping to a market .... Beeves 
may be had for $15 (in specie) per head and 
steers at $4 to $5. It has been estimated that 
$1,000,000 worth of stock is ready to go to market 
from Texas at the present time. 

Despite the tenuous nature of Newton's crop 
and livestock reporting service in the wartorn 
South, it revealed the fact that the Texas 
cattle situation was ripe for the start of the 
famous cattle drives soon to be begun over the 
Chisholm Trail and others leading north to 
railroads. 

Information provided by the statistical sur- 
veys was augmented by observations of travel- 
ers such as Theodore C. Peters, who was com- 



missioned by Newton to travel through the 
South in the spring of 1867 and arrange for 
the distribution of seeds. Peters submitted a 
long narrative that was published in the 
Monthly Report for May and June of 1867 de- 
scribing conditions he had seen on a circuit- 
ous journey to Louisiana and back to the 
Capitol. 93 

Brickbats and Bouquets 

As already noted, Newton's appointment as 
the first Commissioner of Agriculture had 
been greeted with reservations and in some 
cases open hostility. Some of this may have 
resulted from the normal reactions of disap- 
pointed candidates for the office and their ad- 
herents. Perhaps this accounted, in part at 
least, for the lack of continuing support of 
Orange Judd, editor of the American Agricul- 
turist, who was himself a candidate for the 
position. 9 ' The opposition of the agricultural 
press increased until, in its issue of 1866, The 
Cultivator and Country Gentleman declared: 
"Every leading Agricultural and Horticul- 
tural Society in the country has publicly urged 
the removal of the Commissioner, a unanimity 
of sentiment which we have never before 
known to be shown in such a way." This ap- 
pears to indicate an overwhelming condemna- 
tion of the Commissioner, but this too may 
have had a basis other than Newton's alleged 
incompetence. The fact is the Annual and 
Monthly Reports had proven popular with 
farmers and the hundreds of thousands of 
copies distributed free of charge represented 
a competitive threat to the farm journals. 95 

The personality and certain practices of 
Isaac Newton appear to have been major 
causes of the resentment against him. The 
Commissioner could not resist fighting back 
when his actions were criticized and the pages 
of his reports were filled with spirited and 
caustic defenses of his work. The statistical 
reports came in for their share of censure and 



^U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, September 1866, p. 350. 

50 Ibid., September 1866, p. 328. 

91 Ibid. 

K Ibid., p. 356. 



"U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, May-June 1867, pp. 
192-203. 

"Harding, T. Swann. Two Blades of Grass. Univ. 
Okla. Press, 1947, p. 18. 

05 Resolutions were presented in every Congress from 
1863 to 1866 to publish 120,000 to 165,000 additional 
copies of the Annual Report of the Department. See 
flyleaf of each of the annual reports. 



27 



Newton defended them stoutly. An example of 
this type of controversy evolved from criti- 
cism of an estimate of the 1865 Minnesota 
wheat crop. In the January report for 1866 
Mr. Newton presented his rebuttal: 

In this report will be found an article in reply 
to complaints from individuals in Minnesota 
against the estimate made by this Department of 
the wheat crop Jn 1865 from several localities in 
that State, amounting to between seven and eight 
millions of bushels; yet the most prominent ob- 
jector to the correctness of estimate of the de- 
partment, in a published letter says: 

Owing to the low stage of water in the Minn- 
esota river for the last three years immense 
quantities of wheat have accumulated in the 
southern and western sections of the State. 
This declaration sweeps away the very grounds 
upon which an error is alleged in the estimates 
of the department. 

This handling of the situation seems charac- 
teristic of Newton. After giving an answer 
that may have been sound and fully adequate 
by quoting a statement of one of his tor- 
mentors, Newton could not be satisfied but 
went on in a self-righteous diatribe in which 
he charged his critics with a lack of "good 
faith," accused them of "selfish purposes," 
and of complaining in "general terms, that 
present nothing to be answered." Characteris- 
tically the Commissioner closed with a para- 
graph of self-praise and with plaudits for the 
Department's work. 

Such missiles inserted in the report for self- 
glorification purposes irked the editors of 
agricultural papers and contributed to the feel- 
ing of ill will toward the conscientious but 
exasperating Commissioner. 96 

Charges of nepotism also fanned the flames 
of resentment against the Commissioner. New- 
ton had put his son in charge of the experi- 
mental garden 97 and had twice appointed his 
nephew, J. W. Stokes, to the important post 
of Chief Clerk of the Department. 98 There 
were no Civil Service career employees in 
those times; politics was the order of the day 



96 For further examples of this trait of Mr. Newton 
see U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, November 1863, p. 2; 
Bi-Monthly Report, Jan.-Feb. 1864, p. 2; Ibid, Mar- 
Apr., p. 6; Apr.-May, p. 5; Monthly Report, June 1866, 
p. 255. 

07 True. A History of Agriculture Experimentation 
and Research in the U.S., 1607-1925, p. 42. 

98 U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, May and June, 1867, p. 
190. 



and Newton played the game according to his 
lights. 

Despite the widespread and quite vocal op- 
position to Newton he retained the support of 
President Lincoln who in 1864 said, "The Agri- 
cultural Department, under the supervision of 
its present energetic and faithful head, is 
rapidly commending itself to the great and 
vital interest it was created to advance." 99 

In the spring of 1866 the Farmer's Club of 
the American Institute of New York passed a 
resolution "to remove the present head of the 
Department of Agriculture and appoint, to fill 
the office, a man of well-known ability." * 
Shortly afterward Mr. Newton suffered an 
accident from which he never fully recovered. 
Greathouse, in his Historical Sketch of the 
United States Department of Agriculture, 2 
gave the essential facts: 

In July, 1866, Commissioner Newton suffered a 
sunstroke while in the field on the experimental 
farm. A large number of varieties of wheat — 
Tappahannock, Mediterranean, and others new in 
general use — were being tried. The grain had been 
cut and was lying on the ground when a thunder 
shower suddenly appeared. Commissioner Newton 
was in his room at the Patent Office. He hastened 
over to the farm, a mile away, to instruct the 
workmen how to save the wheat free from any 
injury. The sun was hot and he was wearing a 
high silk hat. In moving hurriedly about the 
grounds he became overheated. His son took him 
to the little office on the farm and summoned med- 
ical assistance. Restoratives were applied and he 
partially recovered, but was never well again. 

That Isaac Newton was a controversial fig- 
ure is obvious, but this should not obscure the 
fact that his basic objectives, concepts, and 
principles in founding the Department have 
been proven sound by a hundred years of ex- 
perience. The agricultural statistician owes 
him a special debt of gratitude for recognizing 
the need of farmers and the general public for 
timely, accurate, and comprehensive statistics. 
His early appointment of competent statisti- 
cians and energetic support of their pioneer- 
ing efforts made possible the founding and 



09 Messages and Papers of the Presidents, VI, pp. 133, 
188, 251. 

1 Cultivator and Country Gentleman, March 1, 1866, 
p. 145. 

2 Greathouse, Charles H., Historical Sketch of the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Its Objects and Pre- 
sent Organization. Division of Publication, Washington 
Govt. Printing Off., 1898, p. 11. 



28 



development of the large and scientific statis- 
tical service of today. 

CHAPTER 3. REGULAR REPORTS ARE 
ESTABLISHED, 1866-81 

First Appropriation for Statistical Work 

Although the collection, analysis, and publi- 
cation of statistics had been an important 
phase of the Department's work since it was 
established in 1862, there was no specific ap- 
propriation for this activity until fiscal year 
1865. During the intervening years the statis- 
tical program was paid for out of the Depart- 
ment's appropriation of $64,000 for 1862, 
$80,000 for 1863, and $119,770 for 1864. 3 For 
1865, however, $20,000 was appropriated spe- 
cially for "Collecting Agricultural Statistics 
and Information for Reports." 4 The total ex- 
penditures by the Department amounted to 
$150,604, including $54,000 for distribution of 
seeds; expenditures for statistical work repre- 
sented about 13 percent of the total and some 
20 percent of the operating budget. Such afflu- 
ence was not to last, however, as the statis- 
tical budget sagged to $10,000 in 1867 and 
ranged from that sum to $15,000 for the next 
13 years. 5 

Farm Wage Rate Statistics 

In submitting his report in January 1867 
Commissioner Newton presented the results 
of the first inquiry made in 1866 to determine 
the rate of wages of farm labor. The report 
gave the average rate of wages per month for 
farm laborers with board and without board 
for the northern, western, and southern States. 
A total of 1,510 returns were received, each 
representing the composite judgment of sev- 
eral local correspondents and other individu- 
als. 6 The principal questions dealt with: 

1. Average wages per month (without 
board) of farm laborers hired for the year. 

2. Average wages per month (with board) 
of farm laborers hired for the year. 

3. Average wages per month (without 



3 U.S.D.A., Office of Budget and Finance, Appro- 
priations, Reappropriations, etc., 1839-1936. 

1 Ibid. 

5 See table in appendix for appropriations from 1862 
to 1962 for statistical work of the Department. 

8 USDA Monthly Report, January 1867. p. 6. 



board) of farm laborers hired for the season 
or a portion of the year. 

Dodge's interest in the broader aspects of 
the survey is illustrated by his effort to pre- 
sent an interesting analysis of local variations 
in wage rates in such a manner as to indicate 
their validity and usefulness. Statistical tables, 
accompanied by appropriate comments, 
showed comparisons of four types of wage 
rates with some characteristic considered sig- 
nificant. 7 The factors thus analyzed in relation 
to variations in wage rates were: 

The "Panhandle" of West Virginia vs. the State 

as a whole. 
The dairy region of Ohio vs. the State as a whole. 
The southern part of Indiana vs. the State as a 

whole. 
The southern part of Illinois vs. the State as a 

whole. 
Nearness to cities, i.e., river counties of Kentucky 

vs. the State of Kentucky. 
Newly freed labor vs. long-established labor, e.g., 

Virginia rate vs. Missouri rates. 

One illustration — that of the effect of easy 
transportation and skilled labor — should suf- 
fice to indicate the approach used in present- 
ing these analyses: 

Easy Transportation and Skilled Labor": The ad- 
vantage of facilities for transportation are shown 
by the increased rates of wages near navigable 
rivers and lines of railroad. This is conspicuously 
seen in a comparison of the river counties of 
Kentucky with those of other portions of the State. 
Other elements of difference appear in a compari- 
son of the river counties of the Kentucky side 
with those of the Ohio shore. A more diversified 
industry in Ohio, and the employment of free in- 
stead of slave labor, enter into the calculation 
and make a material advance in the rate. The 
following table exhibits nearly as great a differ- 
ence between the river counties of Ohio and those 
of Kentucky as exists between the latter and those 
of the entire State: 

Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 

State of $20.23 $13.65 $23.80 $17.06 

Kentucky. 
River counties, 24.23 16.36 28.79 20.36 

Kentucky. 
River counties, 28.27 17.36 32.81 22.33 

Ohio. 

Modern labor economists, while applauding 
the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the anal- 
yst, might question a bit as to whether some 
of the differences shown were statistically sig- 
nificant. These studies, however, are further 



; Ibid., p. 9. 
* Ibid., p. 8. 



29 



evidence of the desire of the meager statistical 
staff to provide meaningful data in the annual 
reports. 9 

Condition of the Farm Stock of the United 
States 

Statistics on number, average price, and 
value of livestock on farms that had been pub- 
lished regularly by the Department 10 did not 
satisfy the demands for information concern- 
ing the livestock industry. The Department 
argued : 

An interest involving a capital of fourteen hundred 
millions, without reference to investments in lands, 
buildings, and incidentals, demands the watchful 
care of public guardians of our national resources. 

Accordingly, the following queries were in- 
cluded in a circular which was made return- 
able April 15, 1867: » 

1. Has there been any prevailing disease among 
cattle in your county during the past year? If so, 
what disease, and to what extent? 

2. Has the Spanish fever prevailed among cattle 
in your county? If so, when did it appear, what 
has been the loss, and what method of treatment 
has been followed? 

3. Has the hog cholera prevailed? If so, what has 
been the loss, and what remedies employed? 

4. What diseases have prevailed among sheep, and 
to what extent? 

5. Has any unusual disease prevailed among sheep, 
and to what extent? 

6. What proportion of wool remains on hand com- 
pared with the whole amount of last year's clip? 

7. In what condition have sheep come out of winter 
quarters? 

8. Are Cotswolds, Leicesters, South Downs, and 
other mutton breeds, more or less abundant than 
formerly? Please state definite facts, in actual ex- 
perience, of the cost of keeping, amount of wool, 
etc., of these breeds, in comparison with Merinoes. 
No estimates are wanted, but actual facts, as full 
as may be practicable, from individuals who have 
bred both long and fine wool sheep. 

9. What is the comparative condition of winter 
wheat? of winter rye? 

Obviously it would be difficult and time con- 
suming to answer such questions in detail 
concerning one's own farm. To do so for an 
entire county, as the correspondents were 
asked to do, would be practically impossible. 
Apparently, however, the results were consid- 
ered quite satisfactory as the report states: 



These circulars were sent to all our regular cor- 
respondents, and the returns were very complete, 
both in point of numbers and of particular details. 
Very few cases of omission, even of a single item 
occurred. 12 

A good response to such an inquiry, despite 
the laborious task placed on respondents, 
might be expected due to the tremendous in- 
terest in the subject matter. Judging from 
comments of the correspondents, losses of cat- 
tle from "Spanish fever" and of hogs from 
"cholera" had been severe and widespread, 
especially in the South and Southwest. 13 Such 
disasters always stimulate response to official 
inquiries regarding the situation. 



Sheep-Killing Dogs 

Statisticians in 1867, as before and since, 14 
were sometimes asked to provide statistics on 
unusual topics. An instance of this kind was 
the request for information on the "depreda- 
tion of dogs," 15 that is, the extent of sheep 
killing by dogs. Resentment of such losses 
was widespread and bitter, and sentiment for 
drastic measures — severe taxes or restraint — 
was mounting. 16 Factual information was lack- 
ing although the Department had some data 
"obtained at different times from different 
sources under different auspices." In order to 
provide a more systematic and realistic view of 
the situation the Department asked its regular 
correspondents to estimate the number of 
sheep killed by dogs in their county during 
1866. The returns from 539 counties scat- 
tered from Maine to Utah indicated a loss of 
130,427 sheep from this cause. As about one- 
fourth of the counties were reported, it was 
estimated that "the total number killed would 
be more than half a million yearly." Such sta- 
tistics did not need to be precise in order to be 
useful. An indication of the relative magnitude 
of the losses was all that was necessary in 
order for the data to be of value to those 
fighting to curb sheep-killing dogs. 



The farm wage rate series thus begun has been 
continued without significant change to the present. 
10 U.S.D.A. Monthly Reports, 1867. 
"U.S.D.A. Monthly Reports, April 1867, p. 132. 



12 Ibid., p. 132. 

13 Ibid., pp. 135, 137-153. 

14 For example, the 1961 statistician for Wisconsin 
provided data for estimating the pheasant population in 
the State for the benefit of hunters. 

15 U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, July 1867, p. 246. 
16 See excerpts of letters quoted on pp. 85-86, Monthly 
Report, March 1867. 



30 



Commissioner Newton Dies 

Commissioner Newton died on June 19, 1867. 
For about 6 months, from June 20, 1867, to 
December 4, 1867, John W. Stokes served as 
Acting Commissioner. President Johnson then 
filled the position by appointing Horace Cap- 
ron from a field of about 30 active applicants. 
Capron, a native of New England, had been 
a successful farmer and manufacturer in Mary- 
land, an officer in the Union Army, and a 
noted livestock leader in Illinois. 

Beginning with the July report in 1867, the 
returns from the Statistical Division were 
signed by J. R. Dodge, Statistician, with sim- 
ply an endorsing signature of the Commis- 
sioner. 17 This recognition of the status of the 
Heads of Agricultural Statistics has continued 
to the present time. Dodge had been "Statisti- 
cian and Editor of the Report" and had been 
referred to as such by the Commissioner in 
his Report for the previous month (April), 
but recognition of a separate status for the 
"Report of the Statistician" did not come un- 
til after the passing of the first Commissioner. 
This first signed "Report of the Statistician" 
included data on wool prices in New York and 
Boston ; imports of wool at New York ; exports 
of breadstuff's ; revenues of Great Britain ; the 
cotton caterpillar; culture of flowers and man- 
ufacture of perfumery; Angora and Cashmere 
goats; temperature of the soil; culture of 
sugarbeets; farm products and domestic ani- 
mals in Europe; mineral phosphate of lime; 
statistics of Bavaria; crops of Europe; and 
meteorological tables. Here again is demon- 
strated the wide range of subject matter for 
which statistics were believed to be needed. 

Field Travel of Statisticians 

The value of personal observation of field 
conditions by statisticians was recognized at 
the start of the statistical work in the Depart- 
ment. In 1867 Mr. Dodge made 

... a tour to the Northwest, 1 * undertaken for the 
purpose of increasing and improving facilities for 
the collection of agricultural statistics and for con- 
ference with professional or other intelligent agri- 
culturists relative to Department cooperation in aid 
of the interest of that great section. 19 



On this trip the Department Statistician 
was "struck particularly with the ruinous 
tendency of the current system (or want of 
system) of wheat culture." He wrote a detailed 
report describing what he considered a "blind, 
senseless, and suicidal system of agricul- 
ture." 20 

The concentration on wheat to the exclu- 
sion of other crops is indicated by this com- 
ment from a Wheat Belt agricultural paper: 
"If a pound of butter comes into the city be- 
fore Thanksgiving every clergyman should es- 
pecially name it as a cause of thankfulness." 21 
Extracts such as this from correspondents 
were a favorite means of enlivening the re- 
ports and imparting information concerning 
various sections of the country. Each monthly 
issue carried several pages of comments taken 
from reports of field correspondents. 

The attitude of Commissioner Capron to- 
ward the Department's statistical program 
was anxiously awaited by J. R. Dodge and his 
staff. They were soon relieved as the Commis- 
sioner wrote in his special report to Congress 
in January 1868: 

Among the chief purposes connected with the 
proper fulfilment of the objects of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, it must be conceded, is this: 
the obtaining of reliable statistical information, 
to be secured by a complete system of correspond- 
ence, leading out through the various State or- 
ganizations — agricultural, horticultural, and pomo- 
logical — and extending to the county and local 
societies in each State, where such exist; and 
where these do not exist, then through such re- 
liable channels as may be most available and 
efficient. 22 

In his report as Department Statistician, 
Dodge stated that agriculturally 1867 had been 
more productive than 1866. In addition to the 
customary tables on acreage, yield, produc- 
tion, and value of crops, and numbers and 
value of livestock, the Annual Report included 
statistics of foreign trade and showed the re- 
sults of a special survey made during the year. 
This survey, entitled "Special Statistics of 
Farm Resources and Products," was sent to 
the Department's corps of statistical corre- 
spondents. Two questions of great interest 
were these : 23 



I7 U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, July 1867, p. 237. 
1S From the comments in his report he apparently 
visited the Great Plains area. 

"U.S.D.A. Monthly Report, October 1867, p. 321. 



20 Ibid., pp. 321-322. 

21 Ibid., p. 366. 

22 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture, Report, 1867. 
Washington, D.C., 1868, p. 20. 

23 Ibid., p. 102. 



31 



1. What is the average percentage of increase 
(or decrease, if cases of decrease exist) in the 
price of farm lands in your county since 1860? 

2. What is the average value of wild or unim- 
proved tracts of land; and what is the character, 
quality, and capabilities of such land? 

The Chief Statistician wrote an "epitome" 
giving information from the survey by States, 
which covered 18 pages of his Report. The 
data indicated increases between 1860 and 
1866 in values of farmland ranging from 10 
percent in Kentucky to 175 percent in Ne- 
braska, whereas decreases varied from 18 per- 
cent in Tennessee to 70 percent in Louisiana. 24 

In a separate section Dodge reviewed the 
chaotic agricultural situation in the South 
during its first full year after Appomattox. 
His report was based on statistics obtained 
from a special inquiry sent to "our regular 
corps of reporters and agricultural editors and 
planters distinguished in their vocation." 25 
The purpose of the inquiry was stated as being 

... to ascertain the pressing wants of this sec- 
tion, to furnish information and advice suited to 
the exigencies of the case, and to initiate a new era 
in the history of its productive industry. 26 

The questions, 15 of them, were long and 
complex, often involving several concepts and 
a series of answers. The returns were informa- 
tive, however, and provided the basis for an 
absorbing and instructive report on Southern 
agriculture in the immediate postwar period. 

Frederick Watts Appointed Commissioner 

President Grant named Frederick Watts of 
Pennsylvania Commissioner of Agriculture, 
and he took office on August 1, 1871. He was 
widely known for his dedication to improved 
agriculture. He had introduced Mediterranean 
wheat in Pennsylvania in 1839 and the first 
trial of the McCormick reaper in the State 
took place on his farm in 1840. Watts was a 
moving spirit in the organization of the 
Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society in 
1851, and was active in organizing the United 
States Agricultural Society. He was called "the 
father" of the Pennsylvania Farmers High 
School, which later became the Pennsylvania 
State University. 27 



Dodge Goes to Europe 

The persistent desire to improve the subject 
matter, breadth, and technical quality of sta- 
tistical reports at home, as well as to expand 
the coverage of foreign agricultural statistics, 
resulted in Dodge making a tour of Europe in 
1872. Commissioner Watts, in his annual re- 
port to President Grant, said the purposes of 
Dodge's trip were: 

To perfect exchanges, to establish relations of sta- 
tistical reciprocity, investigate statistical methods, 
and thus increase and perfect the resources of 
the statistical division. 28 

The demand for better knowledge of the agri- 
cultural situation abroad was whetted by the 
mounting value of our agricultural exports, 
which in fiscal 1872 

.... amounted to the magnificent sum of 
$406,394,254, including $1,773,716 for living 
animals; $75,287,133 for animal products; 
$15,240,872 for wool in various forms, and 
$46,352,010 for oils, vegetables, tobacco, and mis- 
cellaneous products of agriculture, either raw or 
manufactures. 26 

Dodge visited Government offices in Lon- 
don, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, where he in- 
vestigated the statistical methods being used 
and programs to aid agriculture. In Vienna he 
also served as a U.S. Representative to the 
International Exhibition. He found, of course, 
a great diversity in the attention given to 
agricultural statistics and in their scope and 
quality. Generally he discovered that funds for 
statistical work were more liberally bestowed 
than in this country. 30 He was particularly im- 
pressed by the fact that, unlike the United 
States, most European countries endeavored 
to obtain the area of principal crops. Dodge 
considered the determination of crop acreages 
an "initial point in statistical inquiry." 31 The 
use abroad of police and tax assessors to collect 
census data met Dodge's disfavor. 



"Ibid., p. 119. 
25 Ibid., p. 412. 
28 Ibid. 

27 Fletcher, Stevenson W. Pennsylvania Agriculture 
and Country Life, 1840-1940. p. 482. 1955. 



28 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1872. 
Washington, D.C., 1873. 

29 Ibid., p. 11. 

30 Ibid., p. 15, and Monthly Report, August-September 
1873, p. 418. 

31 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1873. 
Washington, D.C., 1874, p. 150. 



32 



Appropriation Problems 

The European tour stimulated Dodge's 
thinking concerning statistical methods and 
he undertook to garner support for an im- 
proved program in the United States. In a 
speech before the National Agricultural Con- 
gress at Atlanta, Ga., May 14, 1874, he said : 

There is great activity of statistical inquiry at 
the present time, and hut little patience of inves- 
tigation; there is frequency and flippancy in state- 
ment, but less of accuracy and thoroughness. There 
is a feverish desire to accomplish the census of a 
continent in one day, and proclaim its results the 
next. Few take time to weigh facts, sift error 
from truth, and reach broad and philosophical 
conclusions. What is wanted in statistics is more 
of thought and less of flurry, more industry and 
less precipitancy, sounder judgment and less zeal 
without knowledge. Few have yet learned the logic 
of statistics, and some even of our law givers 
are prone to build by proxy the framework of 
their political economy, and liable to give it a 
fantastic and incongruous finish. 32 

Dodge carried on the campaign for more 
funds for about 2 years before Commissioner 
of Agriculture Watts supported the harassed 
Division of Statistics in his report of 1875 to 
President Grant: 

The attention of Congress is called to the proposed 
organization of this division as indicated in the 
schedule of annual estimates. This division of the 
Department has about five thousand regular, ap- 
pointed correspondents. I know of no branch of 
the public service in which so much is accom- 
plished with so small an expenditure. It is literally 
true that nine tenths of the labor performed is 
gratuitous, that of our correspondents being en- 
tirely uncompensated, except by the reports of the 
Department and seeds sent them for experiment. 33 

The appropriation proposed for fiscal year 
1877 was $5,000, a cut from $10,000 in the 
previous year and $15,000 in 1875. The Report 
of the Statistician for the year 1876 stressed 
the need for augmenting the funds for the 
Department's statistical program. The state- 
ment became progressively more irate in tone. 
In his statement requested by the Committee 
on Agriculture, Dodge waxed eloquent in 
places and reached the extreme of proposing 
that they cut out the $5,000 proposed for 
the statistical work in the fiscal year 1877 and 
blot out the division and with it the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. 



82 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture, Report, 1873, p. 
146. 1874. 

33 Commissioner of Agriculture, Report, 1875, pp. 10, 
19. 



The efforts of Dodge and Commissioner 
Watts resulted in a restoration of funds to the 
usual amount of $15,000 which apparently 
silenced Dodge for the time as his subsequent 
annual report carried no comments on the 
fund situation. According to his personnel rec- 
ord in the National Archives, Dodge received 
a cut in salary from $2,000 to $1,900 at this 
time. 

Dodge Leaves the Department and Returns 

A new Commissioner of Agriculture, Wil- 
liam Gates LeDuc of Minnesota, was appointed 
by President Hayes, and took office July 1, 
1877. Relations between LeDuc and Dodge did 
not prosper. In his Annual Report for 1878, 
Commissioner LeDuc listed seven "immedi- 
ate necessities" of the Department, but sig- 
nificantly an increase of funds for statistical 
work was not among them. 34 The unfortunate 
discord between the two men continued to 
worsen and LeDuc apparently became con- 
vinced that Dodge was attempting to undercut 
him by ridicule and criticism. 35 Dodge denied 
all such charges. Coming on top of his recent 
appropriation problems, the strained relations 
with the Commissioner culminated in his deci- 
sion to resign his position in 1878. For a few 
months Jacob Dodge worked for the Treasury 
Department, and then General Francis A. 
Walker, Superintendent of the Census, put 
him in charge of agricultural statistics for the 
Tenth Census. 36 

Dodge was to be recalled to the Department 
as Chief Statistician in 1881. Meanwhile the 
position was held by Charles Worthington 
aided by an assistant Statistician and five 
clerks. 37 There was no increase in funds, but 
in his Annual Report for 1880 Commissioner 
LeDuc, at last convinced, declared that the sta- 
tistical staff should be "enlarged to double its 



34 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture. Report, 1878, 
Washington, D.C., 1879, p. 39. 

85 Ross, Earle D., The U.S.D.A. During the Commis- 
sionership. In Agr. Hist. 20:137, July 1946. 

™ Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. 5, pp. 
349-350. 

87 True, Alfred C. A History of Agriculture Experi- 
mentation and Research in the United States, 1607- 
1925. p. 54. 



33 



present strength." 3S Nothing of the kind oc- 
curred, however, and when James A. Garfield 
became President, he replaced LeDuc as Com- 
missioner with George Bailey Loring on July 
1, 1881. This signaled the return on the same 
day of Jacob R. Dodge as Chief Statistician. 
Dodge worked at a per diem rate of $6.00 until 
his appointment was finalized on July 1, 
1883.™ He did not resume his duties as editor, 
for which he had never been paid, 40 and at 
last was free to devote his very considerable 
talents to the improvement of the Depart- 
ment's statistical program. 

CHAPTER 4. AN ERA OF PROGRESS, 
1882-93 

Guidelines for Development 

An eventful and constructive decade fol- 
lowed the reinstatement of Jacob Dodge as 
Chief Statistician. Commissioner George B. 
Loring in his Annual Report to President 
Arthur for 1881 sounded the keynote: 

The time has arrived when the crop reporting 
system should be made more thorough and ac- 
curate and its results communicated to the public 
at the earliest possible moment." 

He proposed that a telegraphic synopsis of the 
report be furnished the press of the Nation 
and he favored cooperation with State author- 
ities to provide "uniformity and public confi- 
dence." Dodge made a personal pledge: 

Believing that the unadorned truth will best 
promote the interests of producer and consumer, 
it will be my endeavor to eliminate bias and preju- 
dice from returns and from the work of inter- 
preting and averaging these local estimates." 

Dodge devoted a portion of his Report of 
the Statistician to the Division and its work. 
He laid down guidelines for future develop- 
ment and announced steps being taken to 
achieve the desired goals. 



38 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture. Report, 1880. 
Washington, D.C., 1881, p. 14. 

30 Jacob R. Dodge personnel file in National Archives. 

40 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture. Report, 1876. 
Washington, D.C., 1877, p. 18. 

11 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1881. 
Washington, D.C., 1882, p. 15. 

"Ibid, p. 577. 



With a range through the entire field of rural 
effort, and of science applied to agriculture, the 
ground occupied by agricultural statistics is prac- 
tically measureless and the demand for statistical 
service limitless. Hence the work of the division 
has neither cessation nor respite. 

General and special statistics, domestic and for- 
eign, national and international, are required for 
use of officials connected with the legislative and 
executive departments of the government, boards 
of agriculture, chambers of commerce, educational 
institutions, editors, and others in representative 
positions. Much service of this tenor is constantly 
performed, limited only by practical possibilities 
and the endurance of a small corps of clerical 
assistants. 

The crop-reporting work of this division covers 
an area of nearly 200,000,000 acres of crops har- 
vested by the hand of man, and includes in cattle 
industries a range of several hundred millions 
more. The spirit of the age demands prompt, fre- 
quent, and reasonably accurate reports of these vast 
interests; the unreasoning haste of greedy impul- 
siveness demands a minute census weekly, simul- 
taneous in collection, and instantaneous in con- 
solidation and distribution. The tendency of the un- 
thinking public is to statistical pretense, inac- 
curacy, and looseness of statement. It will be the 
aim of the direction of this service to render it 
thorough, efficient, and reliable in results; to use 
systematic scientific methods; to reach practical 
and exact conclusions, and present them con- 
scientiously. 

To this end the Commissioner of Agriculture 
has obtained an increased appropriation from 
Congress; and among the means adopted for im- 
provement of this service is the appointment of a 
statistical agent for each State and Territory, to 
act as head of a State corps of correspondents, as 
a lieutenant of the statistician in directing and 
executing the work of such district. Among these 
agents are several experienced officers of State 
departments or boards of agriculture, heretofore 
in charge of a State corps of statistical reporters 
upon precisely the same plan in operation in this 
department. Thus duplication of work is avoided, 
discrepancies are harmonized, results are verified, 
avoiding the confusion of a double series of re- 
ports, and securing greater accuracy and higher 
public appreciation of the value of the results. 
Unfortunately, there are few States that have an 
organization for the collection of statistics, and 
in the others it becomes necessary to select agents 
who have not been educated in statistical collec- 
tion by such experience; yet there are persons 
possessed of judgment in agricultural affairs, ca- 
pacity for organization, a taste for statistical col- 
lection, and a "genius for work," from whom to 
select these agents, in the expectation of develop- 
ing trained and skilled assistants." 



State Statistical Agents Appointed 

The appointment of part-time State statis- 
tical agents in 1882 was a significant step in 
the long development of the Department's 
statistical service. It brought to each report a 
knowledge of local conditions that could be 
provided only by competent people, trained in 
agriculture, familiar with statistical tech- 



' Ibid, p. 666. 



34 



niques, and following prescribed scientific 
methods under centralized direction. An inval- 
uable part of their work was the establishment 
of lists of names of "representative" farmers 
throughout each State. These cooperative re- 
porters provided the information about their 
communities which helped make the State and 
national reports much more meaningful than 
they would otherwise have been. 

The proposed expanded program and the fa- 
cilities and methods employed were realistic 
and sound. Especially noteworthy was the fact 
that the State statistical agents were ap- 
pointed, paid, and supervised by the Division 
of Statistics in Washington, D.C. In this way 
a coordinated series of periodic reports giving 
details by States, Territories, and the country 
as a whole could be published in accordance 
with strict timetables. This organizational 
structure, embodying a chain of command, ac- 
counts in large part for the orderly develop- 
ment of the U.S. statistical service and its 
superiority to that of many countries. To get 
appropriate questions included in a circular, 
to have them worded properly, and to get in- 
quiries mailed, tabulated, analyzed, and the re- 
sults published on time requires a highly syn- 
chronized operation and a concert of action that 
is practically impossible to achieve without 
central direction. It is to the credit of Dodge 
and his colleagues that they understood this 
important principle and were able to implement 
it, especially in a day when "States' Rights" 
were so jealously guarded. 

Agency Set Up in Europe to Report on Agri- 
culture 

Concern with the domestic statistical pro- 
gram was not allowed to obscure the need for 
adequate statistics relating to European agri- 
culture. Accordingly, an agency was estab- 
lished in Europe headed by Edmund J. Moffat, 
who was quartered in the office of the Consul 
General in London. The new agency was ex- 
pected to provide "accurate reports of crop 
prospects, valuable statistical exchanges, and 
miscellaneous information of value to this de- 
partment and the agriculture of the country." " 
Moffat furnished regular reports summarizing 
and reviewing European agricultural condi- 



tions; these were published in the Depart- 
ment releases under the caption "European 
Crop Report" and bearing his name or ini- 
tials. 45 

The program on foreign agricultural statis- 
tics was strengthened by an Act of Congress 
of June 18, 1888, which required U.S. Consular 
officers to make monthly reports on crop con- 
ditions in their area to the Department of 
State for the use of the Agriculture Depart- 
ment."' Portions of the reports, considered of 
interest to American farmers, were required 
by the Act to be included in the monthly report 
of the Division of Statistics. 47 These were 
usually given under "Notes on Foreign Agri- 
culture." 

Dodge could also report that "under require- 
ment of Congress" a section had been created 
for the monthly publication of freight rates, 
special work in dairy statistics had been 
started, and other special investigations were 
in progress. 48 The appropriation for collecting 
statistics for the fiscal year ending June 30, 
1883, was $94,000 — six times as much as had 
usually been available for such work. A break- 
through in the budgetary stalemate that had 
existed for years had finally been accom- 
plished. 

Statistics of State Agencies 

Writing in 1881, Dodge said: "Few of the 
States, through assessors or other officers, 
make any pretense of obtaining annual sta- 
tistics of farm crops, or even farm animals." 49 
He went on to point out, however, that some 
of the more enterprising States had collected 
and published statistics and that much good 
had come of their efforts. It had, he thought, 
educated the people in "statistical methods 
and the profitable uses of farm statistics." 50 



" U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture, Report, 1881-82, 
p. 667. 



15 U.S. Division of Statistics, Statistician's Reports, 
May 1884, p. 21. Also, ibid., June 1884, p. 26. 

4,1 The Department was raised to cabinet status in 
1889. See Appendix B for text. 

" U.S. Department of Agriculture, Div. of Statis., 
Report for August 1889. p. 279. 50 Stat. 186. 

48 Ibid., p. 667. 

4 "U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1881-82, 
p. 647. 

50 Ibid. 



35 



For the collection of annual statistics the as- 
sessors were usually utilized despite the fact 
it was "an extra, vexatious, unpaid and thank- 
less service," for which no penalty was levied 
for neglect. The results were almost univer- 
sally poor, even in Ohio whose system was 
rated the most efficient. In that State a com- 
parison of assessors' returns for 1879 with 
those from the Census Bureau showed the as- 
sessors' data "fell short" 14 percent in corn, 
9 in wheat, 8 in oats, 10 in rye, 10 in barley, 
and 19 in buckwheat. A fear that taxes might 
somehow be proportional to the acres and 
bushels reported caused fields "to be reported 
smaller than they are" and estimates "at a 
minimum figure." Such attitudes were attri- 
buted to the lingering antagonism of some 
immigrants to "exactions of home govern- 
ments" and to "some natives whose apprecia- 
tion of statistical utilities is tinctured with 
similar suspicions." Other difficulties were 
caused by confusion of terms. For example, 
discrepancies resulted from reports of corn 
measured "in the ear" versus "shelled." 51 

Some States, such as Iowa, attempted to es- 
tablish crop reporting services based on re- 
ports from farmers or other informed indi- 
viduals. The Iowa Horticultural Society was 
a leader in such activities, and as early as 1872 
tried to get data on conditions and quantities 
produced from its county correspondents. The 
State persisted, under various of its agencies, 
in attempts to provide adequate statistics con- 
cerning its agriculture for more than half a 
century before discontinuing its efforts and 
placing reliance on Government crop reports. 51a 

The Division of Statistics deplored the poor 
quality of data obtained by State agencies, es- 
pecially by the local assessors, 52 but lacking 
jurisdiction there was little it could do to 
bring about improvements. 53 



61 U.S.D.A. Division of Statistics, Reports, September 
1885, pp. 24-25. 

51a Iowa Horticultural Society Transactions, 1935, 
Vol. 70, pp. 54-55. 

52 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Report, 1892, (Wash- 
ington: 1893), pp. 466-467. 

63 Education and persuasion are the principal means 
of encouraging a high standard of statistical work by 
tax assessors. Beginning in 1917, cooperative agree- 
ments between State and Federal Governments have 
resulted in most States having a unified statistical 
system which has eliminated duplication of effort and 
improved the quality of work done by assessors. 



Graphic Presentation 

Improvements in all phases of the statisti- 
cal program were constantly being sought 
by Dodge and his associates. 54 The Chief 
Statistician had long been intrigued 
by graphic illustrations such as charts and 
diagrams and he encouraged their use, espe- 
cially in the Annual Report of the Commis- 
sioner of Agriculture. His first major use of 
graphic illustration involved the preparation 
of exhibits for the 1876 Centennial Celebration 
in Philadelphia. For this purpose, a series of 
maps, diagrams, charts, black and tint litho- 
graphs, and wood upon lithographic tint en- 
gravings was prepared. Some of the maps 
were 12 by 17 feet. Acreage, yield, and pro- 
duction of crops by States were depicted along 
with woodland density, farm wage rates, fruit 
areas, per capita production data, exports, and 
so on through 43 items, ending with engrav- 
ings of principal buildings of a number of 
colleges. 55 

Another ambitious endeavor of this kind 
was the exhibit prepared under Dodge's direc- 
tion for the New Orleans Exposition of 1884. 
Dodge was delighted with the assignment, es- 
pecially since he considered it another indica- 
tion that "a spirit of statistical inquiry is 
abroad, accompanying the schoolmaster, in- 
vading the press, and sometimes the pulpit." 56 

"Crop reporting," Dodge said, "is counting 
in advance by instantaneous generalization." 57 
He proposed to make it possible for the aver- 
age person to achieve an instantaneous under- 



r '* A new series of statistical reports was inaugurated 
in October 1883, to be published monthly and to pro- 
vide information of current interest rather than the 
more permanent material reserved for the Annual 
Report. Included were the usual reports on condition 
of crops, livestock, transportation rates, etc. In 1892 
the crop report was separated from the general report 
of the statistician "as being more ephemeral in char- 
acter and requiring more prompt issue than miscel- 
laneous statistics." U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Re- 
port 1893 (Washington: 1894), p. 34. The Monthly 
Reports, New Series, 1 to 10 were issued by the Divi- 
sion of Statistics Nos. 11 to 25 by the Bureau of 
Statistics; Nos. 26 to 36 under the label "Report of 
the Statistician." 

r ' 5 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1875, 
Washington, D.C., 1876, p. 466. 

55 Ibid., 1884, p. 466. 

57 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture Report, 1887. 
p. 22. 



36 



standing of his statistical reports. Accord- 
ingly, in 1889 the Division of Statistics pub- 
lished an "Album of Agricultural Statistics 
of the United States." That same year the 
Paris Exposition awarded Dodge a gold medal 
for graphic illustrations of agricultural sta- 
tistics. 58 

International Statistical Institute Established, 
1885 

At the 50th anniversary meeting of the 
Statistical Society of London in 1885, an In- 
ternational Statistical Institute was organized 
and J. Richards Dodge was elected a member 
although he was not present at the London 
meeting. 59 The initial session was scheduled to 
be held in Rome in September 1886, but be- 
cause of an outbreak of cholera the conference 
was postponed until April 1887. Dodge repre- 
sented the United States at the gathering and 
wrote a preliminary account of the session, 
which was carried in the Department's June 
Report. In a statement concerning the need 
for an International Statistical Institute Mr. 
Dodge said: 



In these days of international commingling, by 
commerce, immigration, and travel, demand for 
statistics more comprehensive than national state- 
ments have arisen, and international comparisons 
have therefore become an urgent necessity of 
progress in government, industry, and the arts. 



"A Clear and Searching Glance into the 
Future" 

Any temptation Dodge may have had to re- 
lax his efforts to expand and improve the sta- 
tistical service of the Department was coun- 
tered by the stimulation of his European tour, 
criticism at home by the National Board of 
Trade, 60 and his concern with mounting crop 
surpluses. Writing in 1889, Dodge declared 
that "the vital need of today is a clear and 
searching glance into the future, a forecast of 
crop results which shall fairly indicate them 



58 Dictionary of American Biography 5: 349-350. 

58 U.S. Division of Statistics, Reports, September 
1885, p. 45. Francis A. Walker, President of Massachu- 
setts Institute of Tech., attended the London meeting 
and was an original member of the Institute. 

"National Board of Trade. Proceedings, 1887. p. 12. 



in advance." " Dodge had no illusions as to 
the difficulties involved in making such esti- 
mates. In fact, the staff, field organization, 
and statistical methods available were not ade- 
quate for such a task nor would they be for 
many years to come. 

In his report the previous year, Dodge had 
said: "The county correspondents now number 
2,331, their assistants are fully three times 
as many, and the State agencies have a large 
list of correspondents. Altogether over twelve 
thousand persons are connected with the work 
of statistical investigation." fi - The implication 
is that this constituted a powerful staff and 
it was for the time but, looking back, it seems 
woefully inadequate. 

That Jacob Dodge labored incessantly to 
satisfy the demands of his day is indicated by 
the variety of subjects for which he obtained 
and published statistics, his efforts to provide 
information on foreign agricultural conditions, 
his emphasis on use of scientific statistical 
tools, the innovations he made to popularize 
statistics, and his articles such as "The Agri- 
cultural Depression and Its Causes (1890)," 
"Permanency of Agricultural Production 
(1891)," "Agricultural Production for Amer- 
ican Consumption (1884)," "Foreign Markets 
for Dairy Products." 63 The economist, Henry 
C. Taylor, and his wife, Anne Dewees Taylor, 
in their "Story of Agricultural Economics in 
the United States, 1840-1932," stress the role 
of J. R. Dodge as an economist and laud his 
attention to the economic problems of the times. 

Repeatedly in the Monthly Reports, Mr. 
Dodge endeavored to convince his farmer re- 
spondents that in reporting to him concerning 
farming conditions they were serving their 
own best interests. In an article on the subject 
in the report for November 1889, Dodge said, 
in part: "The farmer has everything to gain 
and nothing to lose by publicity of the results 
of his labors. He cannot keep these results a 
secret if he would, and it would be extremely 
injurious to his interest if he should." 



91 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Report, 1889. Wash- 
ington, D.C., 1889, p. 201. 

83 U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture. Report, 1888. 
Washington, D.C., 1889, p. 405. 

63 Each is included in the Report of the U.S. Com- 
missioner of Agriculture for the year indicated. 



37 



National Board of Trade Criticism of Reports 

Criticism now and then from editors of 
farm journals and similar "experts" could be 
expected. More disturbing was that from 
members of such an organization as the Na- 
tional Board of Trade. In a meeting in January 
1887, Mr. McLaren, a Member of the Board 
from Milwaukee, introduced a resolution stat- 
ing that since the monthly statistical reports 
of the Department served no useful purpose 
for the agricultural and commercial interests 
of this country but, on the contrary, aided our 
foreign customers, that the Department 
should "report on the acreage as soon as it is 
definitely ascertained, and on the yield of 
grain and cotton only at the end of the calen- 
dar year." 64 The purpose, good faith, and de- 
sirability of continuing the Government re- 
ports was vigorously defended by a number 
of Board members, especially by Charles B. 
Murray of Cincinnati, whose son Nat C. Mur- 
ray 40 years later served as Head of the 
Bureau of Statistics of the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture. After considerable discussion, 
Mr. Goodale from Cincinnati proposed a sub- 
stitute resolution which reads as follows: 



Whereas, The monthly crop reports formulated 
by the United States Government have in the past 
contained numerous inaccuracies, which inaccura- 
cies as we believe, are mainly due to poorly in- 
formed and careless correspondents; and 

Whereas, Congress is proposing to establish the 
Department of Agriculture upon a more service- 
able foundation than heretofore; therefore be it 

RESOLVED, That the Bureau having in charge 
the crop statistics be memorialized to furnish the 
necessary money and to take proper steps to- 
wards securing more efficient correspondents in 
agricultural districts, to the end that a greater 
degree of accuracy may be reached in formulating 
statistics on growing crops, more especially on 
those of grain and cotton. 65 

The substitute resolution was unanimously 
adopted by the Board. 66 Although there was 
no immediate increase in congressional appro- 
priations for the Department's statistical pro- 
gram, the resolution indicated the attitude of 
a segment of the trade and supported the argu- 
ments for increased funds. 



Dodge had never claimed infallibility for 
his statistics. In 1866 when he became Chief 
Statistician he wrote: 

The crop estimates are only intended to be ap- 
proximate, for current use in supplying early in- 
formation in foiling the purposes of reckless specu- 
lation. They should not be authoritatively quoted 
as fully ascertained and precise facts. In general 
terms, they have proved far more reliable than 
other reports and estimates. 87 

In 1892, in submitting his 24th and final An- 
nual Report as Statistician for the Depart- 
ment, Dodge said: "The crop-reporting system 
of this division is the most systematic and 
extensive known. It would be folly to claim for 
it perfection . . . ." 68 

Dodge Retires 

During the quarter of a century between 
these two statements, Jacob Richards Dodge 
had worked conscientiously and persistently 
to develop a statistical service adequate for 
the needs of the times. The goal was not 
reached nor has it yet been, but there was 
much for which Dodge could be proud. As 
he said: 



The work of the division at first, very limited 
in scope and area, now includes, besides organized 
original investigation in this country and Europe, 
the collection and coordination of the official and 
commercial statistics of the world. Instead of one 
clerk, the office force including compilers, trans- 
lators, computers, and copyists now include 
60 .... 69 



The annual appropriation for the Division 
of Statistics had grown to $136,000. Reports 
were being received from some 15,000 regular 
monthly respondents and about 125,000 "rep- 
resentative farmers." Publications included a 
4-page "synopsis" of the crop report in an 
edition of 125,000 copies for the exclusive ben- 
efit of farmers; 70 20,000 copies of the monthly 
report sent to regular crop reporters, the 
press, and officials; and a monthly report in- 
corporating miscellaneous items. 



64 National Board of Trade. Proceedings, 1887. Bos- 
ton, 1887, p. 12. 

65 Proceedings, op. cit. 
""Ibid., pp. 14-20. 



67 U.S. Monthly Report, 1866. Washington, D.C., 1887. 
Statement on flyleaf, under label Notice. 

08 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Report, 1892. Wash- 
ington, D.C., 1893, p. 404. 

69 Ibid. 

70 Ibid, 1893, p. 406. 



38 



Although Dodge thought that improvements 
in statistical methods and operating proce- 
dures were possible and desirable, he believed 
that the great obstacle to reliable statistics 
was the lack of accuracy in the original data. 
Dodge argued: 

A stream cannot rise higher than its source; 
pure mathematics and immaculate judgment com- 
bined cannot cure the inaccuracy of erroneous 
original data. This is today the supreme difficulty 
in obtaining correct statistical results, whether in 
a census that requires years of time and millions 
of money, or in any other official or unofficial crop 
investigations. 71 

The cure for this seemed to Dodge to lie in 
education of the public, especially farmers, as 
to the importance of accurate reporting. 72 

On March 15, 1893, Jacob R. Dodge signed 
his last monthly Report of the Statistician. Five 
days later he submitted his resignation to the 
new Secretary of Agriculture, the Hon. J. 
Sterling Morton of Nebraska. Dodge gave as 
his reason "a cherished desire to terminate 
my long and exacting service as Statistician, 
and carry out my plans for more agreeable 
work in agricultural literature." ™ He was in 
his 70th year. Until his death nearly a decade 
later J. R. Dodge served as Statistical Editor 
of the "Country Gentleman," a magazine which 
had a wide circulation among farm people. 74 



CHAPTER 5. A DECADE OF CONFUSION, 
1894-1905 

Henry A. Robinson Appointed Chief Statisti- 
cian 

When J. Sterling Morton took office as the 
third Secretary of Agriculture on March 7, 
1893, he selected Henry A. Robinson as Chief 
Statistician. Robinson took office on April 1. 
Nat C. Murray characterized him as "a purely 
political appointee without qualification as a 
statistician." According to Murray, a letter 
written by Robinson in the files of the Division 



71 Ibid., 1892, p. 405. 

72 Ibid., p. 406. 

73 A copy of this letter is in Mr. Dodge's personnel 
file in National Archives. Secretary Morton took office 
March 7, accepted Dodge's resignation on March 23, 
to take effect at the close of business March 31, 1893. 
Morton was the ninth Commissioner or Secretary of 
Agriculture under whom Dodge had served. 

74 Dictionary of American Biography 5 : 349-350. 



indicated that Robinson thought that the data 
from crop reporters should be tabulated and 
given to the public "for what they were worth" 
without regard to accuracy. 75 As a result of 
this policy the accuracy of the reports steadily 
declined. 

This not only created trouble that was not 
fully apparent until the Census of 1900, but 
the inaccuracies in the current estimates soon 
became evident to users, particularly to the 
National Board of Trade. 

Criticism of National Board of Trade 

In January 1895 the Board passed two resol- 
utions. The first was submitted to the Board 
by Charles B. Murray and read as follows: 

Whereas, the monthly and yearly crop reports 
of the United States Department of Agriculture 
have in recent years been confusing, misleading, 
and manifestly erroneous in important particulars, 
therefore, 

RESOLVED, That if the crop-reporting service 
of the Government is to be continued, it should 
be required that every needful effort be made for 
insuring the fullest degree of efficiency in the 
work, with reference to completeness and accuracy 
of data, and that the dissemination of the infor- 
mation should be conducted in such a manner as 
to preclude misunderstanding in regard to the im- 
port of such reports and their relation to or com- 
parison with previous statements. 78 

The second resolution, presented by A. C. 
Raymond of Detroit, read: 

RESOLVED, That a committee of seven be ap- 
pointed by the President, to wait upon the Sec- 
retary of Agriculture and the Statistician of that 
department, with a view to arranging a confer- 
ence with them by representatives from commercial 
organizations of the United States, for the purpose 
of devising a system of agricultural reports which 
shall regularly furnish to the public the most 
accurate, reliable and complete information con- 
cerning the agricultural products of the United 
States.' 7 

As a result of these resolutions a Committee 
on Crop Reports was appointed, with Charles 
B. Murray as Chairman. Members included 
W. J. Boyd of St. Louis, Blanchard Randall of 
Baltimore, A. C. Raymond of Detroit, Breed- 
love Smith of New Orleans, D. B. Smith of 



75 Murray, Nat C. A Close-up View of the Develop- 
ment of Agricultural Statistics from 1900 to 1920. 
(4) : 708, Nov. 1939. 

; " Taylor, Henry C. and Anne D. Taylor. The Story 
of Agriculture Economics in the United States, 1840- 
1932; Men, Services, Ideas, p. 204. 1952. 

77 Ibid., p. 204. 



39 



Toledo, and G. F. Stone of Chicago. 78 Following 
a session of the Committee with the members 
of the Division of Statistics in Washington 
on April 15, 1895, the following resolutions 
were adopted: 

This conference, called to consider means by 
which the crop-reporting service of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture may be improved and the 
official results made more satisfactory to the 
public, beg to submit for the consideration of the 
honorable Secretary of Agriculture the follow- 
ing suggestions: 

That it is the judgment of the interests rep- 
resented in this conference that the official crop- 
reporting service should be maintained, and that 
the reports now regularly issued be continued, 
with such modifications as hereinafter suggested. 

(1) That the April report on winter grain be 
discontinued, but that all other features now em- 
bodied in that report be continued. 

(2) That in all reports concerning acreage of 
the various crops reported upon, the Department 
give the area by States in acres, as well as by 
the percentage of the previous year's area. 

(3) That the Department, instead of having a 
principal correspondent and three assistants in 
each county, as at present, make an effort to se- 
cure the regular service of one or more reporters 
in each township, all to make their reports di- 
rectly to the Department at Washington. 

(4) That in the selection of these correspondents 
they should not be taken from farming classes 
exclusively, but should include, so far as possible, 
representatives of all classes of rural industry. 

(5) That the Department discontinue the em- 
ployment of salaried State agents in the regular 
crop-reporting work. 

(6) That the returns of reserves of wheat, corn, 
oats, and cotton be had for dates representing the 
close of the crop year; wheat on July 1, oats on 
August 1, corn on November 1, and cotton on 
September 1. 

(7) That arrangements be perfected with the 
United States consular service for sending by cable 
to the Department, on or about the 9th of each 
month, a statement giving the best available in- 
formation concerning prospects for crops of 
grain and cotton in their respective districts, to 
be published in connection with the domestic 
crop report when issued. 

(8) That it is the sense of this conference that 
a law should be enacted punishing by fine and 
imprisonment any employee of the Department of 
Agriculture who divulges to any one outside of 
the Department of Agriculture any statistical or 
other general information of the Department pre- 
vious to the time appointed for officially presenting 
the same to the public.™ 



Corps of Township Reporters Set Up 

The most immediate and perhaps most im- 
portant result of these resolutions was the es- 
tablishment of a corps of township correspond- 
ents who reported directly to Washington. 



This carried out resolution number 3 except 
that the system of county correspondents was 
continued. 80 Paid State agents were also main- 
tained despite the recommendation that the 
Department discontinue their employment. 
Periodic stocks reports were inaugurated in 
1895 as proposed; they have continued as rec- 
ommended. Nothing was done during Robin- 
son's regime to provide monthly cable reports 
from the consular service concerning foreign 
grain and cotton prospects. Also no regulations 
were promulgated for punishment by fine or 
imprisonment of a Department employee 
guilty of divulging information prior to its 
official release. As we will see, both of these 
developments were to come later. Nevertheless, 
Robinson felt that progress was being made. 
In the Report of the Secretary for 1896 he 
pointed with pride: 

With county correspondents varying from 9,000 
to 10,000 in number, with state statistical agents 
and assistants numbering 6,000 to 7,000 and with 
a corps of township correspondents having about 
28,000 members, each group working independently 
of the others, the Department has at its service 
the amplest resources it has ever commanded. 81 

The Committee on Crop Reports of the Na- 
tional Board of Trade was not so sanguine, 
however, and continued to urge that positive 
action be taken on its recommendations. 82 

An Annual Census of Agriculture 

Robinson was of the opinion that his ex- 
perienced county crop correspondents could 
make an annual farm-to-farm survey that 
would provide much more reliable data than 
that obtained by the casual, part-time enumer- 
ators of the decennial census. His farsighted 
plans included "self -enumeration" by the 
more educated and cooperative farmers, and 
interview followup of nonrespondents by paid 
interviewers. In the Secretary's Report for 
1895, Robinson outlined his proposal. It was 
much too extensive to meet the requirements 



1 Ibid. 
Ibid., pp. 204-205. 



80 In 1925 the lists of township reporters and county 
correspondents were combined comprising a corps of 
nearly 40,000 U.S. Dept. of Agr. reporters. See the 
Crop and Livestock Reporting Service of the U.S., 
Misc. Pub. 703, Washington, D.C., 1933, p. 4. 

81 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Report, 1896, Wash- 
ington, D.C., 1896, p. 115. 

82 National Board of Trade. Proceedings. Jan. 1897, 
and Dec. 1897. 



40 



of a current reporting system, even if the 
tremendous expense of enumerations could 
have been eliminated by securing voluntary 
enumerators, to say nothing of the cost of 
processing the questionnaires after the field 
enumerations. 

His objective to secure more accurate re- 
ports as a basis for annual estimates was com- 
mendable. Dodge, before him, had felt the 
same need as did many Chief Statisticians to 
follow him. More than half a century was to 
elapse before a workable plan that would ac- 
complish the objectives which he sought would 
be developed and put into operation. 

James Wilson Appointed Secretary of Agri- 
culture 

When the Republicans were returned to 
the White House by the election of 1896, 
President McKinley appointed James Wilson 
as Secretary of Agriculture. He retained that 
position for 16 years, a record never achieved 
by any Cabinet officer before or since.* 3 Secre- 
tary Wilson, or "Tama Jim," as he was known 
because of his residence in the county of that 
name in Iowa, wrote in his first annual report : 

I am impressed with the extreme cumbrousness 
of the system of crop reporting that has been 
in use in this division during the last few years. 
Instead of conducing to completeness and accu- 
racy, it would appear from the report of the 
Statistician to in some measure defeat its own 
object by its unwieldiness and by the fact that 
the indefinite multiplication of crop reporters 
weakens the sense of individual responsibility. I 
strongly favor the making of some slight pecuni- 
ary acknowledgement of the services of a care- 
fully selected corps of correspondents located 
mainly in the principal agricultural States, and 
that reliance be placed upon the State statistical 
agents for information regarding the States of 
minor agricultural importance. 84 

John Hyde Appointed Chief Statistician 

To renovate the Department's statistical 
service, Secretary Wilson chose John Hyde, 
who, like Wilson, had been born a British 
subject but had become a naturalized citizen 
of the United States and claimed Omaha, 



Nebr., as his home. 85 Hyde had been in charge 
of agricultural statistics for the Census of 
1890 and had joined the staff of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture in 1895 as an editor or 
"expert compiler" in the Division of Statis- 
tics. 86 He was, therefore, a holdover from the 
previous Administration when appointed Sta- 
tistician and Chief of the Division of Statistics 
on May 5, 1897. In a biographical statement 
Hyde said that he had not been trained for any 
particular field but that, prior to Government 
employment, he had been engaged primarily 
in "banking and journalism." 87 

Hyde went to work energetically to 
strengthen the work of his Division. The new 
Statistician believed that the primary func- 
tion of the Division was to shed a true light 
on agricultural conditions so that farmers 
would not be fleeced by speculators. He ex- 
pressed his philosophy thus; "In every sphere 
of human thought uncertainty is the mother 
of speculations." 88 Hyde sought to con- 
vince farmers of the importance of agricul- 
tural statistics by writing a rather lengthy 
article entitled "Of What Service are Statistics 
to the Farmer." The article was published as 
a part of the Report of the Secretary of Agri- 
culture for 1897, and 15,000 reprints were 
placed on sale at 5 cents apiece by the Govern- 
ment Printing Office. 89 

Secretary Wilson proposed that "brief re- 
ports" be displayed in rural postoffices so that 
farmers could be kept quickly informed of 
crop prospects. 90 In about 4 years, this sugges- 
tion was put into effect, when cards carrying 
pertinent cotton data were mailed to 24,000 
Southern postoffices within 3 hours of publica- 
tion of the telegraphic summary, with the re- 
quest that the cards be prominently dis- 
played. 91 The publicity given the reports was 



83 From Mar. 6, 1897, to Mar. 5, 1913, according to 
official records of the Department of Agriculture. 

84 U.S. Department of Agriculture. Yearbook, 1897. 
Washington, D.C., 1898, p. 56. 



83 Personnel folder of John Hyde in National Ar- 
chives. For reference to Wilson see Arthur C. True, 
History of Agriculture Experimentation and Research 
in the U.S., 1607-1925, p. 186. 

'"Ibid. His annual salary as "Expert Compiler" was 
raised to $2,250 the next year. 

67 Ibid. 

8, U.S.D.A. Yearbook, 1897. Washington, D.C., 1898, 
p. 265. 

89 U.S. DA. Yearbook, 1898. Washington, D.C., 1899, 
p. 608. 

90 Op. cit., p. 57. 

01 U.S.D.A. Yearbook, 1901. Washington, D.C., 1902, 
p. 524. 



41 



considered so valuable that the plan was ex- 
tended to include grain. 92 

The "Crop Reporter" Established 

Hyde's determined effort to provide timely 
information concerning the Nation's agricul- 
ture resulted in a new monthly publication, 
"The Crop Reporter." The publication was 
billed as for "the exclusive use of the Depart- 
ment's crop correspondents," but only "so long 
as ... . (they continue) to supply the Sta- 
tistician with the information asked for." 93 
During its first year, 362,800 copies of the 
Crop Reporter were published 94 and 4 years 
later distribution totaled 1,300,000. 95 

Traveling Field Agents Employed 

One of John Hyde's first efforts to improve 
the statistical service was the appointment of 
20 additional State Agents, making a total of 
41 by July 1, 1898. In addition, Hyde was of 
the opinion he needed five "traveling inspec- 
tors" to coordinate the work of the State 
Agents and to keep abreast of agricultural 
changes in the areas assigned to them. A re- 
duction in funds for 1899 96 postponed such ap- 
pointments but gradually Hyde created a staff 
of roving assistants. 97 Nat C. Murray, later 
Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, started work 
with the crop reporting service in 1904 as one 
of these special field agents with a territory 
that included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michi- 
gan, and Kentucky. 98 Of this experience Mr. 
Murray has written : 

I was required to make a report upon the con- 
dition of the various crops as of the first of the 
month for each of five States, similar to reports 



92 Ibid. 

03 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Yearbook, 1899. Wash- 
ington, D.C., 1900, p. 685. 

04 Ibid. The Crop Reporter was superseded in 1913 
by a similar publication "Crops and Markets." 

93 Ibid. 1903, p. 76. 
m Ibid. 1898, p. 60. 

"Two were enrolled in 1900 (U.S.D.A. Yearbook, 
1900, Washington, D.C., 1901, p. 73); 2 more in 1902 
(Secretary of Agriculture Report, 1902, p. 72); 2 in 
1903 (Secretary of Agriculture Report, 1903, p. 88). 
According to Nat C. Murray three of these were Ed. 
S. Holmes, John Darg, and Tom Baldwin (see footnote, 
Jour. Farm. Econ., Nov. 1939, p. 709). 

03 Jour. Farm. Econ. XXI(4): 709, Nov. 1939. 



being made by the State statistical agents. It was 
not long before I learned from experience that 
it was impracticable, if not impossible, to report 
satisfactorily upon the condition of crops in each 
of five States as of a certain date by travel and 
observation alone. Questions as to percentage of 
increase or decrease of acreage, or of yield per 
acre, which did not relate to a specific date, could 
be investigated in this way, by contacting special- 
ists in certain crops in various parts of the States 
covered. After some time I was authorized to main- 
tain several hundred select correspondents, who 
reported to me as of the first of each month." 

The work of the regional field agents was 
considered very valuable. The number was in- 
creased and the system of regional agents con- 
tinued until in 1914, fulltime State agricul- 
tural statisticians were appointed. 



The Census of 1900 vs. Current Estimates 

Publication of agricultural data from the 
Census of 1900 was eagerly awaited by Hyde 
and his staff as this would afford a direct 
comparison of the Department's estimates 
made currently and the census enumerations. 1 
Because of the importance of this relationship, 
Hyde announced late in 1901 that the usual 
year-end estimates of crop production for that 
season would not be published pending receipt 
of Census data the following summer. This de- 
cision aroused dissent, especially from the 
Committee on Crop Reports of the National 
Board of Trade, which declared : 

If the Crop Reporting Service of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture is unable, without undue de- 
lay, to offer an approximately correct statement of 
the situation or results as a comparison with the 
preceding year, it has little claim for existence 
.... The conscientious work of the statistician 
of the Department of Agriculture has been and is 
recognized. It is his method which is open to 
criticism. 2 

When the results of the Census became 
available in 1902, a controversy immediately 
arose because of the wide differences shown 
for many crops between acreages and produc- 
tion for 1899 as shown by the Census and the 
estimates made currently for that year by the 
Division of Statistics of the Department of 
Agriculture. In almost all instances the De- 



09 Ibid. 

1 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Yearbook, 1900. Washing- 
ton, D.C., 1901, p. 54. 

"National Board of Trade. Proceedings, 1902. P. 
119. 



42 



partment's estimates were significantly lower 
than comparable census figures. 3 For the Na- 
tion's two largest crops, acreage differences 
showed Department estimates about 16 per- 
cent lower for corn and 18 percent lower for 
wheat.' Discrepancies of such magnitude 
could not be ignored by either agency, nor by 
the public, and the question arose as to which 
set of data, if either, was correct. The Na- 
tional Board of Trade formed a Committee of 
Inquiry on Agricultural Statistics that held a 
series of meetings with the Census Bureau 
and the Department of Agriculture in which 
the techniques and procedures used by each 
agency were carefully reviewed. 5 This Com- 
mittee recognized difficulties and weaknesses 
of both the census enumerations and Depart- 
ment estimates but concluded that the pri- 
mary difficulties might be "a possibly faulty 
area basis as a starting point, accepted from 
the latest census returns; a tendency to under- 
estimate on the part of correspondents, in ap- 
plication of percentage comparisons; and a 
cumulative divergence from the true line by 
progressive application of such underesti- 
mates." 6 

These findings by the committee under- 
scored the basic weakness in the estimating 
procedures that were followed. The census 
base figures were established every 10 years. 
Each year the statisticians gathered by mail 
inquiry from a large number of farmers their 
opinions of the percentage of change in the 
current year as compared with the past year. 
The percentage change for the current year 
was applied to the estimate for the previous 
year to give a current year estimate. Contin- 
uing this procedure for 10 years — until a new 
census was taken — meant that the current es- 
timates were subject to the error that might 
be present in the beginning census base, the 
error or bias that was present in the currently 
reported figures by the crop correspondent, 
and the error in the census figures at the end 
of the 10-year period. 

From the beginning, the statisticians had 
recognized these problems and had given par- 
ticular attention to the analysis of the year- 
to-year percentage changes derived from the 



combined judgment of the corps of crop cor- 
respondents. Obviously, if this combined judg- 
ment was biased, and was not corrected, the 
resulting acreage estimate would be in error. 
Moreover, because each succeeding estimate 
was based on the preceding years the error 
would be cumulative. 

Robinson, when Chief Statistician from 
1893 to 1897, had been inclined to accept the 
reported figures from correspondents without 
change. Because of this lack of critical ap- 
praisal during his term, the crop reports had 
indicated a continuous decline in acreage and 
production of corn and wheat. When Hyde 
became head of the Division of Statistics, he 
attempted to correct this situation but was 
not fully able to do so. 7 

It appears, therefore, that the wide varia- 
tion between the Department's estimates for 
1899 and the census enumerations for that 
year resulted primarily from a low base as es- 
tablished for 1889 by the Census Bureau, and 
from accumulated errors in the Department's 
estimated yearly percentage change during the 
subsequent decade. Thus the data of both agen- 
cies appear to have been faulty. 

Surveys to Collect Farm Management Statis- 
tics 

The engrossment of the Division of Statis- 
tics from its beginning with the collection 
and analysis of data relating to economic as- 
pects of agriculture has been frequently noted 
in these pages. In 1902, this interest found 
new expression in a cooperative project under- 
taken with the Minnesota Agricultural Exper- 
iment Station to provide statistics pertaining 
to the cost of producing farm products. 8 

The methods used to collect data were 
unique. Three college students were hired to 
make daily interviews with 15 farmers along 
specified routes in 3 Minnesota counties. The 
route statisticians, as the young interviewers 
were called, boarded in the home of one of 
their cooperators. Records were made of "each 
hour of labor performed by each man and each 
horse, and giving the field crop or other enter- 



3 Official records of Crop Reporting Board. 

4 Ibid. 

5 National Board of Trade. Proceedings, 1903, p. 81. 
B Ibid., pp. 94-95. 



7 Jour. Farm Econ. XXI (4): 708-709. Nov. 1939. 

8 This brief sketch of a pioneer project is based on 
a report entitled "The Cost of Producing Farm Pro- 
ducts," Bureau of Statistics Bui. 48, Washington, D.C., 
1906, p. 22. 



43 



prise upon which the labor was used." 9 Scale 
drawings of each field were made so that cost 
per acre could be computed for each crop on 
each farm and route, and for the State. Com- 
plete inventories of livestock, machinery, etc., 
were made at the beginning of each year. Re- 
ceipts and expenditures for field crops, ma- 
chinery, horses, and labor during the year 
were secured from the cooperative farmers. 

In the third year of the project the number 
of farmers interviewed was reduced from 15 to 
8, and the route statisticians were required to 
live with each farm family 3 days each month 
for a total of 30 days during the year. During 
the 3-day residence at a farm the route sta- 
tistician helped with the chores and recorded 
the amount of feed used by each group of 
animals, and the amount, and butterfat con- 
tent, of milk produced by each cow. A card 
was left in each home on which were recorded 
the number of eggs laid, and the number of 
eggs, pounds of butter, poultry, and other 
farm produce consumed by the family. The 
purchase of eight wagon scales for use on one 
of the routes to obtain more accurate data in- 
dicates the lengths gone to by the Department 
to make the project a success. 

The results of the 3-year study were con- 
sidered "to be more valuable than any data on 
this subject heretofore collected, because they 
represent actual farm conditions and have 
been gathered by exact methods." 10 

End of the Founding Period 

Bureau of Statistics Established 

On July 1, 1903, a Bureau of Statistics was 
established which merged the Division of Sta- 
tistics and Division of Foreign Markets. Al- 
though it was expected that the work would 
continue along "practically the same lines as 
heretofore," it was hoped that the Bureau 
would be strengthened so that it would be- 
come "the principal source of reliable informa- 
tion on the agricultural resources of the coun- 
try." 1X As reorganized, the Bureau included a 
Division of Domestic Crop Reports, a Division 
of Foreign Markets, and a Miscellaneous Di- 



vision. The Miscellaneous Division was 
charged with the conduct of special investiga- 
tions and the collection of statistics on rural 
economics. Some 205,000 voluntary reporters, 
consisting of county correspondents, township 
correspondents, individual farmers, and spe- 
cial cotton correspondents, supplied informa- 
tion pertaining to agricultural conditions. 
State Statistical Agents submitted their ap- 
praisal of conditions in their State and travel- 
ing agents reported for their territory cover- 
ing several States. Final conclusions based on 
an analysis of indications from all these efforts 
were published monthly in The Crop Re- 
porter. 12 



Appraisal of Statistical Techniques and Pro- 
cedures 13 

The statistical program seemed to be 
broadly based, efficiently organized, and 
effectively meeting the needs of the times. 
Such a roseate picture was not universally ac- 
cepted. As Hyde said: 

Criticism is not lacking. On the contrary, it is 
one of the curious features of this work that the 
more closely reports represent the actual facts 
and the wider the appreciation of their accuracy 
the more subject they become to criticism. This 
is undoubtedly due to the fact that as their gen- 
eral accuracy is more and more widely recognized 
they necessarily exercise a greater influence upon 
the markets, thus inevitably favoring or antago- 
nizing, as the case may be, some of those who are 
engaged in the game of speculation in agricultural 
products. This immediately attracts the adverse 
comments of the losers. This result is unavoid- 
able, and is apparently the inevitable penalty the 
Department must pay for issuing reports so re- 
liable and so generally appreciated as to have 
instant effect on the markets. Were the reverse 
true, and were these reports regarded as unreli- 
able, they would not influence prices, and criti- 
cisms would be reduced to a minimum. 14 

Although this statement has self-righteous 
overtones, it is basically true. Throughout its 
history, the tattoo of criticism leveled at the 
agricultural estimating service has stemmed 



• Ibid., p. 23. 

10 Ibid., p. 84. 

11 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Yearbook, 1903. Wash- 
ington, D.C., 1904, p. 70. 



13 U.S. Department of Agriculture Yearbook, 1905. 
Washington, D.C., 1906, p. 105. 

13 See U.S. Department of Agriculture Yearbook, 
1907, Rules for the Crop Reporting Board, pp. 106- 
113 for a comprehensive account of the crop reporting 
system. Also Reports of the Keep Commission, Wash- 
ington, D.C., Government Printing Office, Senate Docu- 
ment No. 464, 59th Cong., 1st Sess., 1906. 

" Ibid., 1904, p. 88. 



44 



from the fact that its estimates actually are 
relied upon by farmers, business people, col- 
lege professors, and Government officials. 
When the reports err, these consumers of sta- 
tistics vent their resentment. 

Statistical techniques and procedures used 
during the founding years of the Department's 
statistical service were creditable for their 
time and place. The science and practice of 
sampling had been, as Professor Bowley said 
as late as 1906, "persistently neglected." 15 The 
Department's statisticians had little formal 
training in statistical methodology and al- 
though they learned some procedures from 
European statisticians, especially those in 
Germany, for the most part they were sta- 
tistical "landlubbers" sailing uncharted seas. 

The decennial census, which provided State 
totals of crop production, livestock numbers, 
etc., was the foundation upon which the 
monthly and annual crop reports of the De- 
partment of Agriculture were based. The 
county correspondents submitted their judg- 
ment of the percentage change from the prev- 
ious year in production of specified crops in 
their county. These were weighted by census 
totals, and the weighted percentage changes 
were applied to the previous year's produc- 
tion to obtain an estimate of the crop for the 
current season. Such techniques have the vir- 
tue of simplicity but they carry seeds of dis- 
aster. For such unadorned procedures to be 
successful two conditions must be met. First, 
the census data used as a base for subsequent 
estimates must be complete and accurate. This 
degree of precision could not be expected in 
1900 nor in any other census enumeration. 
Secondly, the indications of percentage change 
from the previous year must be sound. This 
was not possible under the methods employed 
during the founding years. The county corre- 
spondents and their assistants simply did not 
have the facts upon which to base precise re- 
ports. Their judgment of the situation was 
adequate for a general appraisal but not for 
the precise estimates desired and expected by 
the public. 

The making of consistently accurate esti- 
mates and forecasts of agricultural production 



15 Bowley, A. L. Address to the Economic Service 
and Statistics Section of the British Association for 
the Advancement of Service. In Jour. Royal Soc. 69 : 
540. 1906. 



is a formidable undertaking. The reasons are 
many but some are readily apparent. To select 
a relatively small, representative sample of 
farms from a multitude varying in size and 
type and scattered over vast distances is a 
highly scientific and herculean task. It is one 
that would tax the most modern facilities and 
skills, few of which were available or even 
dreamed of in the period under discussion. 
The problems of crop estimating were com- 
pounded for Chief Statisticians Bollman, 
Dodge, Worthington, Robinson, and Hyde by 
the drastic changes in acreages and in the 
whole farm situation that took place between 
the presidential terms of Abraham Lincoln 
and Theodore Roosevelt. During those turbu- 
lent years, the first railroad pushed West to 
the Pacific, dragging in its wake the cattle- 
man's frontier that soon was overrun and sub- 
merged by the "nesters." To keep abreast of 
such rampaging changes was impossible and 
the marvel is that the beleaguered statisticians 
managed, as they did, to follow the main 
trends and to measure their relative magni- 
tude. 16 

A Blot on the Escutcheon 

The possibility had long existed and rumors 
had circulated that advance information from 
the crop reports had gotten to outsiders who 
had used it for personal profit. 17 In 1905, it 
came to light that E. S. Holmes, Jr., Associate 
Statistician, had actually collaborated with a 
New York cotton speculator named Louis Van 
Riper in stock-market manipulations which 
reportedly netted them several hundred thou- 
sand dollars. 18 The basis for their stock deal- 
ing was advance information concerning the 
Government reports which Holmes was in a 
position to "leak." Chief Statistician Hyde had 
delegated a great deal of his responsibility 
and authority to his assistant. This misplaced 



19 This judgment seems justified as a general propo- 
sition, however, it can be argued in respect to partic- 
ular commodities and items. For a highly controversial 
example see Working, Holbrook. Wheat Acreage and 
Production in the United States Since 1866 : A Revision 
of Official Estimates in Wheat Studies of Food Re- 
search Institute 11(7), June 1926, Stanford Univ. 

17 U.S. Department of Agriculture Yearbook, 1898. 
Washington, D.C., 1899, p. 60. 

18 The discussion of this unfortunate incident is based 
on the Yearbook of Agriculture, 1905, p. 95, and un- 
published material in the Department. 



45 



trust enabled Holmes to manipulate the re- 
ports, especially those on cotton, to suit his 
speculative needs. Rumors of leakage of crop 
information had brought about a tightening 
of precautions surrounding the preparation 
and release of the reports, including the lock- 
ing of the rooms when the estimates were be- 
ing finalized. When Holmes could no longer 
leave his office to send his New York confed- 
erate advance information, a signaling system 
was devised involving the raising or lowering 
of a window shade in the "lockup." If the 
shade was halfway down, it was a sign that 
the report would show conditions as Holmes 
had previously informed his accomplice they 
would be. If it was halfway up the upper sash, 
it meant that Holmes' accomplice should sell. 
If halfway down on the lower sash, it was a 
signal that the report was even better than 
Holmes had anticipated. 

Failure to get word to the market operator, 
Van Riper, of a late change in the June 1905 
report caused him to lose some $20,000 to 
$30,000. In retaliation Van Riper charged in 
a telegram to the Secretary of the Southern 
Cotton-Grower's Association in Atlanta that 
the Government report for June had been 
falsified. An investigation followed ; Holmes 
was removed from office and a corrected report 
was released. Legal grounds for prosecution of 
the conspirators were tenuous; however, 11 
grand jury indictments were made and the 
case ricocheted around the courts for several 
years. Eventually Holmes was fined $5,000 
and others received similar penalties. 



John Hyde Retires 

John Hyde had served 8 eventful years as 
Chief Statistician of the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture and although cleared of implica- 
tion in the cotton scandal, the time had come 
for him to depart. His letter of resignation to 
Secretary James Wilson reveals some of the 
flesh wounds he had suffered during his tenure 
of office: 



ble to the agricultural and commercial interests 
of the country, my administration of the office I 
have the honor to hold has been constantly under 
fire from one side of the market or the other. Five 
times it has been investigated and on every oc- 
casion I have been vindicated. In January, 1903, 
I was awarded $2,500 damages in a libel suit 
against a prominent firm of cotton brokers by a 
jury of their own friends and fellow-citizens. 
These results have been very gratifying to me, 
but I have the highest medical authority for the 
statement that the continued fight upon me has 
already considerably shortened my life. At the 
present time it is an accepted fact that a powerful 
organization is bent upon bringing about my re- 
tirement, by one means or another. Now, I do not 
think the position I hold is worth the fight nec- 
essary to its retention, and the organization in 
question is welcome to whatever satisfaction it can 
derive from my withdrawal from the unequal 
struggle. If any of my friends think that I ought 
not to retire under fire, I would have them remem- 
ber that there is never a time when I am not under 
fire. I have the honor therefore to tender you 
herewith my resignation of my appointment as 
Statistician and Chief of the Bureau of Statistics 
of this Department. 

With much appreciation of the uniform courtesy 
and kindness you have shown me and of the many 
tokens of confidence I have received from you, I am 



Most respectfully yours, 
(signed) John Hyde 



Hon. James Wilson 

Secretary of Agriculture 



Hyde's resignation was accepted by Secre- 
tary Wilson the same day it was submitted, 
to take effect after the customary 30 days of 
terminal leave. 19 



U.S. Crop Reporting Board Formed 

The precipitate departure of John Hyde 
heralded the end of the founding period of 
the Department's statistical service. Pending 
the appointment of Hyde's successor, the 
duties of Chief Statistician were assigned to 
the energetic Assistant Secretary of Agricul- 
ture, Willet M. Hays. This assignment pro- 
vided interim leadership to the Bureau of Sta- 
tistics by a man who had worked with the 
statisticians in connection with the farm 
management program and had a high regard 
for the work being done. 20 



Dear Mr. Secretary :- 



July 18, 1905 



During the last four years, or since I succeeded 
in making the crop reports of the Department 
reasonably accurate and correspondingly valua- 



10 Letter, Hyde to Wilson, July 18, 1905. In National 
Archives. 

20 Murray, N.C., A Close-up View of the Development 
of Agricultural Statistics from 1900 to 1920. Jour. 
Farm Econ. XXI (4), Nov. 1939. 



46 



Hays was not a trained statistician but he 
was enthusiastic and full of ideas. Tradition- 
ally the final estimate for each State and for 
the country as a whole had been determined 
by the Chief Statistician, with perhaps an 
occasional assist from one of the staff.- 1 When 
Hays became the temporary head of the Bu- 
reau of Statistics, he recognized that he was 
a tyro at the intricate business of making 
crop estimates. To offset his lack of experi- 
ence, Hays began the practice of inviting two 
of his Section Heads and two Special Field 



Ibid. 



Agents to sit with him as a committee to re- 
view the State data and make final estimates 
as a group. Thus in this casual fashion was 
created the Crop Reporting Board, which be- 
came the "rock" upon which the Department's 
nationwide and complex statistical service of 
today was built. For more than half a century 
the Board has weathered the storms that 
periodically swirl about it when an errant esti- 
mate stirs public wrath. With the formation 
of the Crop Reporting Board in 1905, agricul- 
tural estimating did, indeed, come to the end 
of its founding days. 



47 



PART III. A PERIOD OF GROWTH, 1905-30 



PROLOGUE 



The progress made in agricultural research 
during the latter part of the 19th century 
affected every aspect of agricultural produc- 
tion. Development of new varieties and dis- 
ease-resistant strains of plants was having a 
tremendous influence on crop production. In- 
vention of new farm machinery and improve- 
ment of the old were enabling farmers to shift 
from manpower to horsepower. Steam engines 
were of use in threshing of grain, but they 
were not the answer to the farm power needs. 
This led to experimentation with the gasoline 
engine. A system of dryland farming had been 
developed in the 1890's and by the end of the 
century, dryfarming was hailed as the solution 
of the agricultural problems of the Great 
Plains. 

All of these developments were coincident 
with the need for commercial agriculture. As 
a result, there was an increasing awareness of 
the importance of marketing and a pressing 
demand for reliable information on the sup- 
plies of food and fiber. The significance of 
this information and need for protecting the 
crop reports was dramatically demonstrated 
in the episode of 1905, and the creation of the 
Crop Reporting Board operating under strict 
law, rules, and regulations was the answer. 

The period from 1905 through the First 
World War was a period of tremendous devel- 
opment in all phases of agricultural produc- 
tion and marketing. Plow agriculture was in- 
creasing in the Great Plains. Dryland farming 
pushed into the arid sections of the region, 
developing the dryland farming boom. The 
cattle industry expanded into the southern 
Great Plains. 22 

Agricultural research expanded significant- 
ly. The theory of selective breeding for plants 
resistant to disease, developed in connection 
with research for control of cotton wilt, was 



applied to most of the major crops and ex- 
tended to resistance to insects and to drought, 
adaptation to different climates, improved 
flavor, better market qualities, and increased 
food value. 23 

Research on breeding of new varieties of 
crops was having a significant impact. Turkey 
red and durum wheat were becoming com- 
mercially successful, but probably the most 
important development was the introduction 
of Canadian Marquis wheat. This variety had 
resulted from crossing Red Fife from Poland 
with Red Calcutta from India. By 1909, the 
Canadian farmers were producing this va- 
riety, and in about 1912 it was introduced in 
the Dakotas and Minnesota. This was the 
wheat that helped to alleviate the food short- 
age during World War I. Later, it was used in 
the development of many new varieties, in- 
cluding Thatcher in 1934. 2t 

Studies that led to the introduction of hy- 
brid seed corn started around 1904. This work 
was based on the work of two great European 
scientists, Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel. 
It was not until about 1900 that the impor- 
tance of Mendel's work was recognized. Fi- 
nally, in the midtwenties, largely through the 
efforts of Henry A. Wallace, hybrid seed corn 
became available to farmers. Hybrid seed 
brought about a revolution in corn produc- 
tion that not only affected systems of farm 
management, but required the development of 
new techniques in the corn estimating proce- 
dures used by the Crop Reporting Board. 25 

The internal combustion engine was im- 
proved rapidly. The increased use of automo- 
biles and trucks revolutionized normal trans- 



22 U.S. Dept. Agr. A Chronology of American Agri- 
culture, 1790-1965. Econ. Res. Serv. SI. rev. 1966. 



23 Rasmussen, Wayne D. Readings in the History of 
Agriculture, p. 162. Univ. 111. Press, 1960. 

"Wheat Flour Institute. From Wheat to Flour. 
The Story of Man — in a Grain of Wheat, p. 11. Chicago, 
111., 1965 edition. 

23 Rasmussen, Wayne D. Ibid., pp. 214, 243. 



48 



portation. The big open-geared gasoline tractor 
was introduced in the extensive farming 
areas in the Great Plains in 1912. It was fol- 
lowed rapidly by lighter, less cumbersome 
machines, which by the First World War were 
used in many agricultural areas. 

The county agent system got its start as the 
result of the work of Seaman A. Knapp in con- 
nection with efforts to combat the ravages of 
the cotton boll weevil. The Division of En- 
tomology of the Department of Agriculture 
had developed the "cultural" remedy by 1897. 
Knapp had endeavored to extend the methods 
of control which he had demonstrated on a 
farm near Terrell, Tex. To expand this demon- 
stration work, he secured funds from farmers, 
businessmen, railroads, and banks, and the 
first county agent was employed in Smith 
County, Tex., on November 12, 1906. The 
work expanded mostly in the Southern States. 
The development in the North was somewhat 
slower, but the plan gained widespread support 
of many business organizations, chambers of 
commerce, and the agricultural colleges. Agi- 
tation developed for Federal aid. The first bill 
was drafted by the Agricultural College Asso- 
ciation and introduced in 1908. Others fol- 
lowed and finally the Smith-Lever Act for 
cooperative extension w 7 ork was approved on 
May 8, 1914. 2fi 

The depression of 1907 was followed by a 
fairly normal period from 1909 to 1912, and 
then another depression in 1913. These ups and 
downs in business were disrupting to the 
whole economy, and served to emphasize prices 
in the minds of farmers and the speculative 
nature of the markets in general. 

Farmers were consequently becoming more 
and more aware of economic problems relat- 
ing primarily to market prices and methods 
and practices in the market place. 

Complaints had long been heard with re- 
gard to the damage and loss incurred in ship- 
ping livestock. Death losses were high from 
injury; losses also resulted from lack of feed 
and water on long hauls. In 1906, the so-called 
"28-hour law" requiring humane treatment of 
livestock in transit was passed. Under this 
law, carriers were required to provide for 
feed, rest, and water at intervals of not more 
than 28 hours for all interstate shipment of 



28 Baker, Gladys L. The County Agent. Univ. Chicago 
Press, 1939, pp. 15-37. 



livestock. Another law involving livestock was 
the new Meat Inspection Act of 1906. The Act 
of 1890 had been limited to the inspection of 
salt pork and bacon and live animals for ex- 
port, and the quarantine of imported animals. 
The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 expanded the 
1890 law to include inspection of processing 
plants and requirements for antemortem in- 
spection of animals for slaughter and post- 
mortem inspection of carcasses. Supervision 
of meat processing and labeling of products 
were also required. 

The Cotton Futures Act, the first major at- 
tempt to regulate the marketing of farm 
products, was approved in 1914. This Act was 
declared unconstitutional because it was predi- 
cated on the taxing power of the Constitution. 
It was redrafted on the basis of the commerce 
clause, reenacted, and approved on August 11, 
1916. On the same day, the Grain Standards 
Act and the U.S. Warehouse Act were ap- 
proved. On August 31, the Standard Container 
Act was approved. The "Act authorizing the 
Secretary of Agriculture to collect and publish 
statistics of the grade and staple length of 
cotton" was approved on March 3, 1927. 

The purpose of the Packers and Stockyards 
Act, approved on August 15, 1921, was to 
assure fair competition and fair trade prac- 
tices in livestock marketing and the meat- 
packing industry. It is the broadest of the 
marketing regulatory acts administered by 
the Department. Under it the Secretary may 
prescribe rates for stockyards services and 
marketing fees. The definition of interstate 
commerce is broad and was sustained in an 
opinion of Chief Justice Taft in 1922 which in 
effect declared that all of the posted yards 
were in interstate commerce. The object 
sought by the regulation of marketing at the 
stockyards, Chief Justice Taft stated, "is the 
free and unburdened flow of livestock" in in- 
terstate commerce, and the "chief evil feared 
is the monopoly of packers, enabling them to 
unduly and arbitrarily lower the prices to the 
shipper who sells, and unduly and arbitrarily 
increase the prices to the consumer who buys" 
(Stafford vs. Wallace 258 U.S. 495, 515-516). 

The increased interest in marketing acceler- 
ated studies of grades and standards and plans 
for a market news service. The first market 
reports covered strawberries and were issued 
at Hammond, La., in 1915. Livestock market 



49 



news was started 2 years later, in 1917. World 
War I created a heavy demand for quality 
grades for farm products, and special funds 
were provided for a substantial increase in 
market reports on many commodities. 

All of these regulatory laws and marketing 
services added emphasis to the importance of 
adequate and accurate market information. 
The crop and livestock reports were the basic 
market information service, and therefore 
came under additional scrutiny in the market- 
ing process. Trading on commodities ex- 
changes became increasingly sensitive to the 
estimates of production, particularly the 
monthly forecasts of production inaugurated 
in 1911. 

CHAPTER 6. CROP REPORTING FROM 1905 
THROUGH WORLD WAR I 

First Request for Laws Governing the Crop 
Reports Not Approved 

Following the "Cotton Leak" of 1905, Presi- 
dent Theodore Roosevelt and the Secretary of 
Agriculture sought legislation to guard 
against a recurrence of such a disclosure. At 
the request of the Secretary, Congressman 
Arthur J. Burleson of Texas introduced a bill 
to make the premature divulgence of the sta- 
tistical reports of the Bureau a crime. His 
law was passed unanimously by the House. The 
Senate made some minor changes and then 
passed it, also unanimously. The conferees 
met and apparently agreed to the amendments, 
but when the conferees' report was taken up 
on the floor of the House, there was consider- 
able confusion over the inclusion of wording 
in the second section of the bill that made the 
law applicable to Members of Congress. In the 
course of discussion it developed that Burleson 
had inserted that language because, as he said, 
he intended to make the original bill include 
Members of Congress anyway. Objection to 
the revised bill arose from both sides. There 
were some rather sharp clashes during the 
discussion on the floor, which continued for 
several hours, that seemed to boil down to the 
feeling on the part of many Congressmen, that 
Burleson had made the law much broader 
than originally intended. As the time for de- 
bate drew to a close, a motion to table the 
conferees' report was presented and passed, 



107 to 66. This killed the bill and nothing more 
was done until 1909. 

In the interim between 1905 and 1909 the 
Board operated under rules and regulations 
promulgated by the Department of Agricul- 
ture. The Department published several arti- 
cles to acquaint the public with the precau- 
tions that were being taken. One such article, 
that appeared in the Yearbook of 1907, is re- 
produced here. 

Rules for the Crop Reporting Board 27 

The Bureau of Statistics issues each month 
detailed reports relating to agricultural condi- 
tions throughout the United States, the data 
upon which these facts are based being ob- 
tained through a special field service, a corps 
of State statistical agents, and a large body of 
voluntary correspondents composed of the fol- 
lowing classes : county correspondents, town- 
ship correspondents, individual farmers, and 
special cotton correspondents. 

The special field service is composed of 17 
traveling agents, who are especially qualified 
by statistical training and practical knowledge 
of crops, each assigned to report for a given 
group of States. They systematically travel 
over the districts assigned to them, carefully 
noting the development of each crop, keeping 
in touch with best-informed opinion, and re- 
porting monthly and at such other times as 
are required. 

There are 45 State statistical agents, each 
located in a different State. Each of these re- 
ports for his State as a unit, and maintains a 
corps of correspondents entirely independent 
of those reporting directly to the Department 
at Washington. These State statistical corre- 
spondents report each month directly to the 
State agent on schedules furnished them. 
These are then tabulated and weighted accord- 
ing to the relative product or area of the given 
crop in each county represented, and summar- 
ized by the State agent, who coordinates and 
analyzes them in the light of knowledge of 
conditions derived from personal observation 
and other sources, and prepares his monthly 
and other written and telegraphic reports to 
the Department. 



27 This section and its subsections reproduced from 
Yearbook of Agriculture, 1907, pp. 107-110. 



50 



There are approximately 2,800 counties of 
agricultural importance in the United States. 
In each of these counties, the Department has 
a principal county correspondent, who main- 
tains an organization of several assistants. 
These county correspondents are selected with 
special reference to their qualifications and 
constitute an efficient branch of the crop re- 
porting service. They make the county the geo- 
graphical unit of their reports, and, after ob- 
taining data each month from their assistants 
and supplementing these with information 
obtained from their own observation and 
knowledge, report directly to the Department 
at Washington. 

In the township and voting precincts of the 
United States in which farming operations 
are extensively carried on, the Department 
has township correspondents who make the 
township or precinct the basis of reports, 
which they also send to the Bureau of Statis- 
tics each month. 

Finally, at the end of the growing season a 
large number of individual farmers and 
planters report on the results of their own 
individual farming operations during the year, 
and valuable data are also secured from 30,000 
mills and elevators. 

With regard to cotton all the information 
secured from the foregoing sources is supple- 
mented by that furnished by special cotton 
correspondents, embracing a large number of 
persons intimately concerned in the cotton 
industry, and, in addition, inquiries in relation 
to acreage and yield per acre of cotton are 
addressed to the list of cotton ginners through 
the courtesy of the Bureau of the Census. 

Scope of Crop Reports 

Eleven monthly crop reports on the princi- 
pal crops are received yearly from each of the 
special field agents, county correspondents, 
State statistical agents, and township corre- 
spondents, and one report relating to the acre- 
age and production of general crops is received 
during the year from individual farmers. 

Six special cotton reports are received dur- 
ing the growing season from the special field 
agents, from the county correspondents, from 
the State statistical agents, and from town- 
ship correspondents, and the first and last of 
these reports are supplemented by returns 



from individual farmers, special correspond- 
ents, and cotton ginners. 

Transmission of Reports to Bureau by Corres- 
pondents 

Previous to the preparation and issuance of 
the Bureau's reports each month, the several 
classes of correspondents send their reports 
separately and independently to the Depart- 
ment at Washington. 

In order to prevent any possible access to 
reports which relate to speculative crops, and 
to render it absolutely impossible for prema- 
ture information to be derived from them, all 
of the reports from the State statistical 
agents, as well as those of the special field 
agents relating thereto, are sent to the Secre- 
tary of Agriculture. By an agreement with the 
postal authorities these envelopes are delivered 
to the Secretary of Agriculture in sealed mail 
pouches. These pouches are opened only by the 
Secretary or Assistant Secretary, and the re- 
ports, with seals unbroken, immediately placed 
in the safe in the Secretary's office, where they 
remain sealed and guarded until the morning 
of the day on which the reports are issued, 
when they are delivered to the Statistician by 
the Secretary or the Assistant Secretary. Re- 
ports from special field agents and State sta- 
tistical agents residing at points more than 
500 miles from Washington are sent by tele- 
graph in cipher. Those in regard to speculative 
crops are addressed to the Secretary of Agri- 
culture, by whom they are placed in the safe in 
his office. 

Reports from the State statistical agents 
and special field service in relation to non- 
speculative crops are sent to the Bureau of 
Statistics and are kept securely in a safe until 
the data contained in them are used by the 
Statistician in compiling estimates regarding 
the crops to which they relate. The reports 
from the county correspondents, township 
correspondents, and other voluntary agents 
are sent to the Chief of the Bureau of Statis- 
tics by mail in sealed envelopes. 

Preparation of Reports 

The plan of placing the final preparation of 
the reports in a crop reporting board has been 
continued during the past year, and after 2 



51 



full years of trial it has been demonstrated 
that it is a satisfactory method. It relieves one 
man of the strain and responsibility and 
secures the benefits of consultation and the 
consensus of judgment of men who have been 
on the ground. 

The crop reporting board is composed of the 
Chief of the Bureau as chairman and four 
other members whose services are brought into 
requisition each crop reporting day from 
among the statisticians and officials of the 
Bureau and the special field and State statis- 
tical agents who are called to Washington for 
the purpose. 

The personnel of the board is changed each 
month. The meetings are held in the office of 
the Statistician, which is kept locked during 
its session, no one being allowed to enter or 
leave the room or the Bureau, telephones 
being disconnected. 

When the board has assembled, reports and 
telegrams regarding speculative crops from 
State and field agents, which have 
been placed unopened in a safe in the office 
of the Secretary of Agriculture, are delivered 
by the Secretary, opened, and tabulated, and 
the reports, by States, from the several classes 
of correspondents and agents relating to all 
crops dealt with are brought together in con- 
venient parallel columns on final tabulation 
slips. The board is thus provided with several 
separate estimates covering each State and 
each separate crop, made independently by the 
respective classes of correspondents and agents 
of the Bureau, each reporting for a territory 
or geographical unit with which he is 
thoroughly familiar. 

Abstracts of the weather condition reports 
in relation to the different crops, by States, 
are also prepared from the weekly bulletins of 
the Weather Bureau. With all these data be- 
fore the board, each individual member com- 
putes independently, on a separate sheet or 
final computation slip, his own estimate of the 
acreage, condition, or yield of each crop, or of 
the number, condition, etc., of farm animals 
for each State separately. These results then 
are compared and discussed by the board 
under the supervision of the chairman, and 
the final figures for each State are decided 
upon. It has been interesting to note how often 
the reports of the different classes of corres- 
pondents and agents are very nearly identical, 



and how closely the figures arrived at 
independently by the individual members of 
the board agree. The estimates by States as 
finally determined by the board are weighted 
by the acreage figures for the respective 
States, the result for the United States being 
a true weighted average for each subject. 

Request for Laws Renewed in 1908 

The impact of crop reports on the market 
had been dramatically demonstrated by the 
1905 cotton leak. As time went on, the reports 
became an increasingly significant influence in 
the market, and it was recognized that sub- 
stantive law protecting the reports was 
needed. 

The request for legislation was renewed on 
January 8, 1908, and was included in an act 
to codify, revise, and amend penal laws of the 
United States (Senate Bill 2982). It was re- 
ported out of committee by Senator Heyburn. 
Sections 123 and 124 contained the essence of 
the law that had been proposed earlier, but 
made it applicable specifically to officers, 
employees, or others acting on behalf of the 
Government with access to information af- 
fecting the market. 

Senate Bill 2982 was a voluminous docu- 
ment that took some time to progress through 
the Senate and House. It was finally approved 
on March 4, 1909. The wording of the sections 
of the law as related to crop reports is as fol- 
lows: 



Title 18, Section 1902 

Disclosure of Crop Information and Specula- 
tion Thereon. — Whoever, being an officer, em- 
ployee or person acting for or on behalf of the 
United States . . . and having by virtue of his 
office, employment or position, become possessed 
of information which might influence or affect 
the market value of any product of the soil grown 
within the United States, which information is 
by law or by the rules of such department or 
agency required to be withheld from publication 
until a fixed time, willfully imparts, directly or 
indirectly, such information or any part thereof, 
to any person not entitled under the law or the 
rules of the department or agency to receive the 
same; or, before such information is made public 
through regular official channels, directly or in- 
directly speculates in any such product by buying 
or selling the same in any quantity, shall be fined 
not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than 
ten years, or both. 

No person shall be deemed guilty of a viola- 
tion of any such rules, unless prior to such al- 
leged violation he shall have had actual knowledge 
thereof. June 25, 1948, c. 645 § 1, 62 Stat. 790. 
(18 U.S.C. 1902) 



52 



Title 18, Section 2072 

False Crop Reports.— Whoever, being an officer 
or employee of the United States or any of its 
agencies, whose duties require the compilation or 
report of statistics or information relating to the 
products of the soil, knowingly compiles for is- 
suance, or issues, any false statistics or informa- 
tion as a report of the United States or any of 
its agencies, shall be fined not more than $5,000 
or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. 
June 25, 1948, c. 645, § 1, 62 Stat. 795. (18 
U.S.C. 2072) 

Relevant legislation was also passed as a 

proviso to the Appropriations Act for the 

fiscal year 1910. It was reported to the House 

on January 25, 1909, and was signed on 

March 4, 1909. This law states: 

Title 7, Section 41 la 

Monthly crop reports; contents; issuance; 
approval by secretary of agriculture. — the 
monthly crop report, which shall be printed and 
distributed on or before the twelfth day of each 
month, and shall embrace statements of the con- 
ditions of crops by States, in the United States, 
with such explanations, comparisons, and infor- 
mation as may be useful for illustrating the above 
matter, and it shall be submitted to and officially 
approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, before 
being issued or published. March 4, 1909, c. 301, 
35 Stat. 1053; March 4, 1917, c. 179 39 Stat. 
1157. (7 U.S.C. 411a) 

These laws strengthened the Department 
and the Crop Reporting Board in enforcing the 
security regulations and protecting the em- 
ployees and the public from premature release 
and issuance of false reports. In the 61 years 
since the organization of the Crop Reporting 
Board, there has not been a single leak of in- 
formation contained in reports of the Board. 

Essentially, the procedure set forth in the 
1907 Yearbook article is followed at present. 
The security provisions have been extended 
and tightened up considerably in subsequent 
years. The official approval of all reports by 
the Secretary was added after the act of 1909. 
As the number of commodities expanded, 
membership on the monthly boards increased. 

Cotton Acreage Law of 1912 

Cotton has been and is still a very sensitive 
crop. As a result, there is more specific legisla- 
tion concerning cotton than any other crop. 
The first of the cotton laws, approved on May 
27, 1912, required that the regular acreage re- 
port issued on July 1 should show the cotton 
acres in cultivation on that date rather than 
the acres planted as shown for all other crops. 
Thus, the basis for estimates or forecasts of 



cotton during the season were in fact a planted 
acreage discounted for possible abandonment 
up to July 1, while all other estimates were 
based on the acres planted. 

This law reflects the extreme sensitiveness 
at the time to anything that might adversely 
affect the cotton market. The immediate ob- 
jective of advocates of this law was to elimi- 
nate the larger acreage-planted figure which 
they believed exerted a depressing influence 
on the market. The prohibition on estimating 
planted acres created a number of problems. 
Crop reporters were often confused by the 
definition of "acreage in cultivation." Reports 
from farmers were, therefore, a mixture of 
planted acres including acres that might be 
abandoned and acres expected to be carried 
through to harvest. 

Another and more serious problem was that 
those having need for the acreage estimates 
in various studies, such as land utilization, 
found that the cotton acreage in cultivation 
could not be combined directly with planted 
acreage of other crops. 

This 1921 cotton law remained on the books, 
however, until amended by a law approved 
May 29, 1958, which changed the basis to 
planted acres and thereby brought cotton in 
line with all other crops. 

In addition, the security measures have 
been applied to the major livestock reports. 
Owing to the sensitivity that developed around 
the monthly farm price reports and parity 
prices, these reports were placed under the 
same security regulations beginning in 1942. 

The Keep Commission 29 

In 1905 Theodore Roosevelt established the 
U.S. Committee on Department Methods to 
investigate the statistical work of the Govern- 
ment. The committee was composed of 
C. H. Keep, Chairman, Assistant Secretary of 
the Treasury; Lawrence O. Murray, Assistant 
Secretary, Department of Commerce; James 
Rudolph Garfield, Commissioner of Corpora- 
tions, Department of Commerce and Labor; 
and Gifford Pinchot, Chief, Forest Service, 
U.S. Department of Agriculture. 



29 Taylor and Taylor. The Story of Agricultural Eco- 
nomics in the United States, 1840-1932, pp. 220-225. 



53 



The committee sent to the President a docu- 
ment known as the "Reports of the Keep Com- 
mission," dated January 6, 1906. The Keep 
Commission gave special attention to the 
methods used in making cotton crop estimates. 
It went into some detail in setting forth the 
sources of information on which the cotton 
estimates were based and how the data were 
appraised. The Commission observed that the 
information principally relied 'upon by the 
Crop Reporting Board was furnished by the 
traveling field agents and the State agents; 
therefore, it concluded that there was little 
gain from the reports from some 85,000 
farmers and other special correspondents. It 
recommended that the Bureau discontinue the 
collection of these reports and rely solely on 
paid traveling field agents. It was rather 
critical of the fact that the State agents 
were not able to travel and recommended that 
they be given such authority. It also thought 
that in the cotton areas the State agents 
should be essentially cotton men and should be 
provided with periodic training by the 
Washington staff of specialists. While the 
commission had recommended that all reports 
from the farm be done away with, at a later 
point in the report it suggested that the 
traveling field agents and the corps of trained 
State agents might be justified in maintaining 
a well-organized corps of correspondents 
reporting directly to them. It furthermore 
suggested that the Bureau of Statistics might 
have one direct correspondent in each county, 
and that the correspondent should have three 
or four correspondents located at different 
points in the county. This coincided with the 
pattern established back in the 1880's. 

It has not been uncommon for an investiga- 
ting group in the first instance to be quite cri- 
tical of some methods, but after further delib- 
erations to modify its opinion substantially. 
The statistician in the crop and livestock es- 
timating service has always been required to 
know agriculture. The Keep Commission prob- 
ably recognized that because of his experience 
and knowledge the statistician was better able 
to judge the significance of the farmers' re- 
ports than the members of the Commission. 
A number of the Commission's recommenda- 
tions had an influence on the development of 
the service, particularly the changes that were 
made later in the field service. 



Crop Estimates Start Expansion 

When Willet Hays, Assistant Secretary of 
Agriculture, was assigned as acting chief of 
the Bureau of Statistics in 1905, Victor H. 
Olmsted, who had been chief of the Division 
of Domestic Crop Reports, was designated as- 
sociate statistician. C. C. Clark, who had been 
chief clerk, was appointed assistant statisti- 
cian and assistant chief. He was also desig- 
nated acting chief of the Division of Domestic 
Crop Reports. George K. Holmes continued as 
chief of the Division of Foreign Markets, and 
E. J. Lundy was appointed chief clerk. 

In June 1906, Olmsted, became chief of the 
Bureau. C. C. Clark became associate statisti- 
cian, and Nat C. Murray, who entered the serv- 
ice August 1, 1904, as field agent assigned to 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Kentucky, 
was brought to Washington as assistant statis- 
tician and assistant chief. F. J. Blair, who 
had been with the organization for some years, 
was made Division Chief of Domestic Crop 
Reports. 

The Division of Domestic Crop Reports di- 
rected the work of preparing the estimates, 
and issuing the crop reports. Two develop- 
ments reported during Olmsted's first year as 
Chief of the Bureau are significant in his re- 
port of 1906: (1) 45 States were being served 
by a State statistical agent and services had 
been placed upon a uniform and scientific ba- 
sis; (2) the scope of the reports had been ex- 
panded to cover 25 additional crops, an in- 
crease of about 100 percent. The chief of the 
Bureau commented with some pride that this 
additional work had been handled with no in- 
crease in personnel because the employees had 
been willing to put in a very considerable 
amount of time over and above their usual 
work hours. 

Field Services Strengthened 

In 1905 the special field services had been 
composed of 10 special fulltime regional sta- 
tistical agents traveling in a group of States, 
1 special cotton agent, and 1 special tobacco 
agent. These agents were not supposed to 
maintain a list of reporters, but one, Nat Mur- 
ray, at that time a regional agent, in writing 
later 31 of his assignment said: 



31 Murray, Nat. C, Jour. Form Econ. XXI (4) : 711, 
Nov. 1939. 



54 



It was not long before I learned from experi- 
ence that it was impracticable, if not impossible, 
to report satisfactorily upon the condition of crops 
in each of five states as of a certain date by 
travel and observation alone. . . . After some time 
I was authorized to maintain several hundred select 
correspondents, who reported to me as of the 
first of each month. These reports also helped me 
in planning my travels, because I generally went 
to those sections where my mailed reports were 
most conflicting, and this experience demonstrated 
the value of the now widely used combination of 
personal field observation with reports from cor- 
respondents. 30 

The State statistical agents were part-time 
employees, who maintained offices in their 
homes and were paid $300 to $1,100 a year. 
At that time these agents maintained lists ag- 
gregating about 15,000 reporters. Each agent 
summarized the reports for his State and for- 
warded the results and his recommendations 
to Washington. 33 

None of the field statistical agents were 
under Civil Service. They were all, therefore, 
vulnerable to political changes and patronage 
pressures, as State agents had been before 
1900. They were often political appointees 
with a variety of backgrounds. Several had 
been school teachers, superintendents of 
schools, and college professors. One, at least, 
acted as statistical agent as an adjunct to his 
job as professor in a State agricultural college. 
Some came from the newspaper field, others 
were auditors, one was a sheriff, another an 
ex-governor of the State, and some were just 
farmers. Nearly all of them had a solid knowl- 
edge of crops and livestock and farm opera- 
tions, but very few had statistical training. 
Statistics at that time was not taught except 
in engineering and possibly a little in connec- 
tion with plant and livestock breeding. There 
was no application of statistical methods to 
speak of in the field of social sciences. 

Many of the men were extremely proficient 
in appraising crop prospects and analyzing 
crop conditions as reported by farmers. This 
was, in fact, the main qualification of most of 
the crop and livestock estimators both in pri- 
vate and public work. One of the best in the 
service was almost uncanny in his ability to 
estimate, or guess, the yield on a field of 
onions or tomatoes and many other truck 



33 Ibid., p. 709. 

33 "Review of Important Events in History of Crop 
Reporting," a typed report, written by Leon Estabrook, 
in the files of SRS. 



crops. Another, the State agent in Arkansas, 
was an experienced fruit man who rarely 
missed an estimate of the Ozark peach crop. 
Most of the long-time statisticians in the 
Corn Belt were quite proficient in estimating 
the yield of corn and other grain. 

The fact is that this knowledge of crops and 
livestock and agricultural practices, rather 
than proficiency in statistical techniques, was 
depended upon most heavily from the begin- 
ning of the service up through the late twen- 
ties. So much of the information furnished by 
reporters was of a subjective nature, it was 
doubly important that those who used and in- 
terpreted that data be thoroughly familiar 
with the agriculture and crops in their as- 
signed areas. 

In 1909 the corps of field agents was in- 
creased to 19, and State agents were given 
some funds for travel within their assigned 
States. 

The township reporter list was increased 
from about 28,000 to 45,000. 'The county re- 
porter list was continued with some 2,800 re- 
porters. Schedules from these two lists were 
sent direct to Washington. 

The State aid list was increased from about 
10,000 to around 15,000, and additional special 
lists for cotton, tobacco, and rice were de- 
veloped. 

There was recognition that to be of most 
use the complex quadruple reporting system 
needed greater coordination and supervision 
between the field and Washington. In the an- 
nual report of 1910 Olmsted wrote of 



. . .the urgent necessity for personal supervision, 
inspection, and instruction of state statistical 
agents and special field agents. With the begin- 
ning of the current fiscal year this work has been 
carried on in a systematic manner. Each state 
statistical agent and special field agent is visited 
by an official of the Bureau, who is thoroughly 
familiar with all requirements pertaining to the 
collection of information regarding crop acreages, 
conditions, and yields, and who possesses com- 
prehensive knowledge of agricultural statistical 
methods; the agents' records and methods are care- 
fully examined, and proper instructions given when 
necessary. These inspections have a stimulating in- 
fluence upon the agents, and will certainly result 
in raising the standard of accuracy and efficiency 
of our salaried employees whose duties are per- 
formed away from Washington. 34 



A year later he reported 



U.S.D.A. Annual Report for 1910, p. 700. 



55 



The assistant statistician is particularly con- 
cerned with the inspection, supervision, and in- 
struction of the field service of the bureau. This is 
a vitally necessary work, because upon the effi- 
ciency of these agents, as reflected in their re- 
ports to the bureau, depends largely the accuracy 
of the Government crop reports. 35 

This was the first attempt to provide super- 
vision and coordination of the reporting sys- 
tem on which the reports were based. It also 
foreshadows changes that were to come in 
1914. 



Program Development 

Murray, a good manager, sought ways to 
keep informed on happenings in other fields of 
work and improve the service. He made 
changes that enhanced the position of the 
Bureau in the Department. He revised the 
system for weighting county reports. With 
several young men around the Department he 
was active in a "Rural Economics Club." At 
the meetings of this club he picked up many 
suggestions for special investigations that 
could be made without extra cost to the 
Bureau. He said that other bureaus of the De- 
partment had been making surveys of the ex- 
tensive type which the Bureau of Statistics 
was admirably equipped to handle. As a result, 
the officials of the Bureau encouraged coopera- 
tion with other divisions in the Department 
and several valuable surveys were made. 36 

Murray had noted that the clerical force in 
the office was fully occupied for about 10 days 
of each month, extending from the last few 
days of one month into the first few days of 
the next, during the time the crop report was 
being prepared. Between reports there was a 
very light workload, and, as Murray observed, 
there was more or less idling away of time. 
To utilize the personnel more efficiently, a num- 
ber of special investigations were started. One 
of the most important projects undertaken 
was the development of the farm price reports. 

Prices for Farm Products 

The continued and growing interest in 
marketing and in economic problems generally 
emphasized the need for information on prices 
received by farmers for their products. George 



1 U.S.D.A. Annual Report for 1911, p. 643. 
' Murray, op. cit., p. 713. 



K. Holmes was considerably interested in this 
subject and prepared a good many papers and 
reports covering the production and value of 
crops. A report was presented in 1908 on 
"Wealth Production on Farms." Many workers 
in the State colleges were also beginning to 
request more price information. 

Murray said that of all the questions put 
to the Bureau which could not be answered, 
those relating to prices which farmers re- 
ceived for their products were the most fre- 
quent. Accordingly, questions on monthly 
prices of principal crops were added to the 
general crop schedule. 37 

Beginning in 1908, local market prices of 
principal crops were solicited from regular 
crop reporters on the general crop schedule as 
of the first of each month until about 1923. 
Since that time, special lists of merchants 
have been used, and the reference date for 
price reports has been changed to the 15th of 
each month. Supplemental lists of merchants 
also were circularized for the first time in 
1910 to obtain information on prices paid by 
farmers for a long list of items for family 
living and production. This was the beginning 
of the farm price series that later became im- 
portant in determining parity prices used in 
administering the Agricultural Adjustment 
Act. 

Quantitative Estimates of Crop Prospects 

As a result of increasing concern with prob- 
lems of marketing, a pressing demand arose 
for more definitive reports of prospective pro- 
duction during the growing season. Condition 
figures alone provided useful information on 
the progress of the crops, but individual users 
of the reports had to make their own appraisal 
of the portents for harvest. Murray recognized 
the desirability of a quantitative estimate and 
felt strongly that the Bureau of Statistics was 
best qualified to interpret conditions data and 
that one official forecast would eliminate the 
confusion of many individual forecasts and 
exert a stabilizing influence on the market. 

Murray had been experimenting with meth- 
ods for making quantitative estimates of pro- 
duction prospects. When he made the proposal 
to Secretary Wilson that the monthly reports 
include a quantitative estimate, the Secretary 



Ibid. 



56 



said. "All right, but try it out on grain before 
you touch cotton because cotton is dynamite." 3s 

The first forecast in terms of actual pros- 
pective yield and production was published in 
the report of June 1, 1911, and included winter 
wheat, spring wheat (these were combined to 
show a figure for all wheat), oats, barley, and 
rye. In July, corn, white potatoes, tobacco, 
flax, rice, and hay were added. 39 

These forecasts were given for the total 
U.S. crop and being the first venture into this 
field, there might be some slight question 
whether Murray, who signed the reports as 
Acting Chief of the Bureau and chairman of 
the Board, was feeling his way in the matter 
of the form of release or being just a little 
cautious. The reason for this bit of speculation 
is that the report was presented in two tables. 
The first table showed the acreage as a per- 
centage of 1910 acreage and the actual acres. 
This was followed by the condition of the crop 
for June 1, 1911, compared with June 1, 1910, 
the average June 1 condition for the past 10 
years, and the condition for the previous 
month, May 1, 1911. The second table showed 
in successive columns the yield per acre indi- 
cated by condition for June 1, 1911, the final 
yield for 1910, and the 5-year (1906-10) 
average yield. The next two columns showed 
the indicated total production in terms of per- 
centages compared with total production of 
1910 and the 5-year average (1906-10). 

Since Murray said in his article 40 that in- 
terpretation of the condition figures into quan- 
titative amounts started in 1912, the Board 
probably did not consider the 1911 report as a 
quantitative forecast. In any case, the report 
of June 1, 1912, showed indicated yield and 
total production in adjacent columns, the same 
as has been done since that time. 41 

Par Method Used for Forecast 

The basic method for interpreting condi- 
tions that was developed and used up to about 
1929 was the so-called "par" method. This was 
essentially a system by which monthly condi- 
tions reported for each crop in each State were 
converted to 100 percent equivalents; that is, 



38 Ibid., 716. 

"Crop Reporter, 13: 41, June 1911. 

40 Murray, op. cit., p. 716. 

"Crop Reporter 14(6): 41. 



if the July 1 condition figure for winter wheat 
in Kansas was reported at 80 percent and the 
yield per acre for that year was 28 bushels, the 
100 percent equivalent would be 28 ■*■ 80 x 100 
or 35 bushels. Figures for a series of years 
would be combined into 5- and 10-year running 
averages, and the statistician would then re- 
view the series and adopt a 100 percent equiv- 
alent or "par" for each month of the current 
year. In other words, it was simply a method 
of relating average yields to average condi- 
tions with a correction or allowance for trend. 
The term "forecast" was used, but the sta- 
tisticians and the Board regularly called at- 
tention to the fact that the term was really a 
misnomer, that the more accurate term would 
be "production indications." The indicated 
yield of corn, for example, on August 1 for a 
given State is an interpretation of the poten- 
tial yield as of that date, assuming normal 
weather from that date to harvest. In 1926, 
Joseph Becker, chief statistician for the 
Board, explained the basis for the so-called 
forecasts very well when he spoke before the 
Southwestern Political Science Association : 42 

This state of progress, at a given date, we call 
condition. It has significance as indicating the 
ability of the plant to withstand future unfavor- 
able conditions or profit by future favorable con- 
ditions. With each successive day nearer to har- 
vest, the menace of disaster becomes less and also 
the opportunity for bumper yields depreciates. 
The recording of progress or condition, therefore, 
as the season advances tells us something of 
value, — marks a succession of mile-stones passed 
upon the road to harvest. 

Does a condition report tell us anything as to 
the probable outturn, or may a high condition on 
a certain date be as likely to be associated with a 
low yield as a high one? Correlation studies be- 
tween condition and yield indicate that high condi- 
tions are more often associated with high yields 
than with low yields, and correlation coefficients 
for later dates are higher than for earlier ones. 

In other words, having passed a given milestone 
in above-average condition, the chances are better 
than even that the crop will yield above average 
at harvest. 

This is the basis of crop indications (forecasts 
is really an inaccurate word) put forth by this 
Bureau. We do not predict the final yield, we do 
not predict future influences upon the crop, — we 
merely state that with the progress the crop has 
made to this date and with average influences 
hereafter, a yield of so much may be expected. Our 
present method has merit, as demonstrated by the 
fact that in practically every year in which "fore- 
casts" have been made, the forecast was closer to 
the final yield than was the average yield. 



" "Cotton Crop Reports," an unpublished paper by 
Joseph A. Becker, given before the Southwestern Politi- 
cal Science Association meeting at Dallas, Tex., April 
2, 1926. In files of Statistical Reporting Service. 



57 



Despite this and similar qualifications that 
were repeated often from the time the quan- 
titative interpretations were started, most 
users of the reports regarded them as forecasts 
of final production. In either case, it soon de- 
veloped that the forecasts became the principal 
targets for "pointing with pride and viewing 
with alarm" on the part of the makers and 
users of the reports. 

Beginning with the forecasting program, 
the search for ways to improve the monthly 
reports became a major concern of the Bureau. 
This, of course, emphasized as well the neces- 
sity for continuing and intensifying the work 
on improving the basis for estimating final 
acreage and yield estimates. The par method 
was discontinued in 1929 when it was re- 
placed by direct correlation between condition 
and final yield for each month. 

Embarking into the area of quantitative 
forecasting during the growing season was to 
have a profound effect on the entire pro- 
gram. Up to this time, the primary objective 
of the service was to measure the total produc- 
tion. To accomplish this end, the first require- 
ment was to determine as precisely as possible 
the acreage planted to a given crop. As the 
season progressed and crops were harvested, 
the job was to measure how much was pro- 
duced. This called for determining yields per 
acre and the acres harvested. Prices, wages of 
farm labor, fertilizer used, and all other fac- 
tors contributing to production were objects 
of inquiry by the statistician. To round out 
the picture of total supply, stocks on farms, 
in warehouses, and other points of storage at 
specific times were needed. 

Secretary Houston Takes Over From James 
Wilson 

The inauguration of Woodrow Wilson and 
the appointment of David F. Houston as Sec- 
retary of Agriculture on March 6, 1913, was 
an important event in the history of the De- 
partment of Agriculture. Secretary Houston 
was an educator. He had a degree from the 
University of South Carolina, and had done 
graduate work in government, economics, and 
history at Harvard. He taught economics and 
government and served as dean of the faculty 
at the University of Texas. In 1902 he became 
President of Texas Agricultural and Mechan- 



ical College. In 1905 he returned to the Uni- 
versity of Texas as President. In 1908 he 
moved to the Chancellorship of Washington 
University in St. Louis. As Secretary of Agri- 
culture, he emphasized administrative policy, 
economic research, regulatory activities, and 
extension work. 43 

Houston appointed as his first assistant sec- 
retary Beverly T. Galloway, who had served in 
the Department of Agriculture since 1887. 
Galloway was a scientist, and had been chief 
of the Bureau of Plant Industry since its es- 
tablishment in 1901. 44 

Bureau of Statistics Changed to Bureau of 
Crop Estimates 

Secretary Houston displayed a great inter- 
est in the work of the Crop Reporting Board, 
and on July 28, 1913, he appointed a committee 
consisting of Milton Whitney, Chief of Bureau 
of Soils ; J. L. Coulter, Economist, Bureau of the 
Census; C. W. Thompson of Rural Organiza- 
tion Service; L. M. Estabrook, then Chief 
Clerk of the Department; and W. J. Spillman 
of the Office of Farm Management to consider 
the work and organization of the Bureau of 
Statistics. The committee of which Whitney 
was chairman made its report on August 16, 
1913, and recommended that the Bureau's 
title be "Bureau of Crop Estimates." 45 

State Statistical Offices Established 

In March 1913, Assistant Secretary Gallo- 
way started an investigation of the Bureau of 
Statistics leading to reorganization. Olmsted, 
who had been chief of the Bureau, was ap- 
pointed State field agent for Virginia. Nat C. 
Murray, Associate Chief, was designated act- 
ing chief, pending the appointment of a new 
chief. 



43 Baker, Gladys L., Wayne D. Rasmussen, Vivian 
Wiser, and Jane Porter. A Century of Service — The 
First 100 Years of the United States Department of 
Agriculture. USDA, Feb. 1963, pp. 63-65. 

44 Ibid. 

45 The name was officially changed July 1, 1914. Rec- 
ords of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, comp. by 
Vivian Wiser, p. 38. Natl. Arch. 1958. 



58 



Galloway asked Murray to submit changes 
he would suggest if he were made Chief of the 
Bureau. His plan of reorganization was ap- 
proved J6 and Leon Estabrook, who had been 
Galloway's secretary, was named Chief of the 
Bureau. In accordance with the plan, the po- 
sition of State statistical agent was estab- 
lished as a full-time job under the provisions 
of the Civil Service regulations. 

With certain exceptions an office was set 
up for each State. In the six New England 
States, one office was established in Boston to 
prepare estimates for each of the six States. 
Similarly, one statistical agent served Mary- 
land and Delaware and another served Utah 
and Nevada. 

Establishment of State offices with career 
men in charge was an important step in the 
future development of the crop reporting 
work. The State statistical agent immediately 
became the focal point for improving State 
data and for establishing closer working rela- 
tionships with State agencies. Coordination of 
programs and methods by the central office in 
Washington — a need that had been empha- 
sized by the Keep Commission in 1906 — was 
facilitated. 

The reorganization plan seemed to be well 
accepted by the personnel of the Bureau except 
for one complaint from some State statistical 
agents. They preferred the more dignified title 
of statistician. 17 In 1920 the title was changed 
to agricultural statistician, but there was no 
significant change in the functions of the posi- 
tion. 

Comments from some of the State statistical 
agents and records of some of the budget pres- 
entations indicate that in the reorganization 
of 1914 the newly designated or appointed 
agents were given very little in the way of 
guidance beyond rather broad instructions for 
j developing lists of reporters, summarizing the 
monthly returns, and submitting the report to 
Washington by a specified date. The budget 
presentation of 1916 showed no expenditures 
! for rent outside of Washington in 1914 nor 
any allowance for such costs for 1915 and 1916. 
The State Agent was, therefore, on his own in 



46 Letter from Murray to Assistant Secretary Gal- 
loway — in files of SRS. 

47 Memoirs of V. C. Church, Statistician for Michi- 
gan, 1914 to 1941. Typed report in files of the Statis- 
tical Reporting Servi;e. 



securing free space for his office. Most 
frequently the postmaster in the headquarters 
town provided a room and desk, but some 
agents worked from their homes. 

All of the agents were taken from the Civil 
Service register. Salaries varied from $1,608 
to $2,400 per annum. For 36 agents listed in 
the budget for 1914, the average salary was 
about $l,740. ,s The State agents were required 
to travel in their States. Some of the travel 
was by automobile, but most of it was by train. 

By 1917 appropriations reached $316,436. 
Steps were taken to improve field organiza- 
tion, equipment, and methods. Provision was 
being made to obtain suitable offices for the 
State statistical agents either by rental or by 
using appropriate space in the post office 
buildings. Later, as cooperation with the State 
was developed, some of the States provided 
office space. Telephones were being installed, 
and mimeographs, addressing machines, and 
envelope sealers were being provided. 

In many States, at the time of mailing the 
monthly questionnaires and then tabulating 
the returns as they came in, the statistician 
pressed his wife and children into service. By 
1917 this situation was beginning to be cor- 
rected by the addition of clerical help. Cal- 
culating machines were yet to come. Comput- 
ing was all done by head and hand. Contrary 
to the popular idea that a statistician couldn't 
add a column of figures, statisticians of that 
day became extremely proficient in this de- 
partment. In fact, some of the "old timers" 
were hard to sell on the efficiency of an adding 
machine. 

Methodology Investigations 

The Bureau did not have funds for re- 
search, but it was possible for the statisticians 
to devote some time between monthly report 
periods to experimenting with ideas for im- 
proving techniques and expanding the useful- 
ness of the sevice. The consuming problem 
of the service from its beginning was how to 
improve the sample on which the reports were 
based. The principal effort was to get more 
objective information on acreage and yield on 
which to base the estimates. States that had 
annual tax assessors' enumerations of acre- 
age, yield, or livestock numbers had consider- 



Budget presentation for 1914-15 and 1916. 



59 



able advantage. Field statisticians were en- 
couraged by the technical staff in Washington 
to give all the assistance possible to improve 
and expand this technique. 

Information on railroad shipments, receipts 
at mills and elevators, receipt of livestock at 
stockyards, volume of slaughter at packing 
plants, and many other sources of information 
at concentration points were being developed. 
This kind of collateral check data was of great 
value in verifying annual estimates. Because 
the estimating technique used was predicated 
on the change from the previous year, it was 
of paramount importance that the annual es- 
timates be checked out as closely as possible. 
The census base provided once every 10 years 
was the starting point. If the current sample 
was selective, that is, if it contained a dis- 
proportionate number of farms of a specific 
size or type, the ratio of change when applied 
to all farms would not represent the true situ- 
ation. The statisticians therefore were con- 
stantly analyzing the samples, comparing them 
with the census base for number of farms, 
size of farms, ratio of size of farm to various 
kinds of crops, and many other factors. 

A considerable amount of the statisticians' 
time was given to solving problems that were 
inherent in the methods used. Some of the 
statisticians developed ingenious ways of meas- 
uring bias in the reported figures. Others 
sought ways of obtaining more definitive re- 
ports from correspondents, and others experi- 
mented in ways to get independent indications 
or checks on the opinion reports. 

Collection of individual farm reports, begun 
in 1911, was an effort to give each reporter a 
more clearly defined basis for comparison in 
reporting production changes than when he 
responded to a locality judgment type of 
question. Apparently, these data were not 
used extensively until after 1920 when Joseph 
A. Becker, who was statistician in Wisconsin 
and later the chief technician for the Crop 
Reporting Board, demonstrated that data rep- 
resenting individual farms provided more ac- 
curate information for the determination of 
acreage change. Inquiries on an individual 
farm basis were not used much until after 1923. 

Statistics Conference of 1917 

Leon Estabrook and Nat Murray gave at- 
tention to training men for better service. To 



this end, a general conference of the Bureau 
was held in Washington in January 1917. 
Leaders' comments are extracted below: 



In July, 1914, the title of the Bureau of Sta- 
tistics was changed to the Bureau of Crop Esti- 
mates, in order to indicate to the public more 
clearly the real nature of its work. Civil Service 
examinations were held in all the States, and from 
the list of eligibles thus secured new Field Agents 
were appointed in many of the States. . . . 

It was and is the desire of the Bureau to appoint 
as Field Agents and Crop Specialists only men 
who have had practical experience in farming, 
men of mature years, men well educated in the 
fundamental principles of agriculture and statis- 
tics, men of the highest character and ability 
who would command the respect and be able to se- 
cure the cooperation of all State and local officials 
and prominent farmers in their States. . . . We 
would also expect that as these well qualified 
Agents become familiar with crop conditions and 
with the people of their States, and as they grad- 
ually accumulated data for every part of their 
States, they would come to be recognized as the 
leading authorities on agricultural production in 
their States. This has been our theory in the past 
and it is our hope for the future. . . . 

The next plan we have in mind is to urge upon 
Congress the desirability of furnishing each Field 
Agent with a clerk to attend to routine correspond- 
ence, look after the mail during the absence of the 
Field Agent, and to assist him in the preparation 
of his monthly report. . . . 

Of especial importance is the question of esti- 
mating acreage and numbers of livestock and I 
can not too strongly urge upon you the necessity 
for devoting a large share of your time and at- 
tention to these two subjects. . . . Our better organ- 
ization and service may result in a closer approxi- 
mation to the totals of the next census, and that 
following the census the Bureau can avoid serious 
deviation from the facts with respect to acreage, 
production and numbers of live stock. 49 

A statement made by W. F. Callander, 
Federal Statistician in Wisconsin, indicates 
his eagerness for truth, native intelligence, 
purposefulness, and untiring energy. Under 
the title of his remarks "Travel — on Foot," 
Callander said: 



There are times, I believe, when the field agent 
can with advantage and at a considerable saving 
of expense, make short trips of inspection on foot. 
On a walking trip one is not confined to fields along 
the road but is able to strike out across the country 
and in so doing will meet men working in the field 
whom it would not be possible, or at least conven- 
ient to interview, if the trip was being made by 
automobile or otherwise. But unless conditions are 
right and there is plenty of time at one's disposal, 
I would not advocate using "shank's mare" as a 
mode of conveyance. 50 



40 U.S. Bureau of Crop Estimates, Meeting of Field 
Agents, Crop Specialists and Administrative Officials, 
January, 1917, mimeographed. 

60 Ibid. 



60 



Murray elaborated on Estabrook's state- 
ment on the importance of acreage estimates 
when he said: 

... in making the final estimates last December 
the Bureau attacked the problem in several dif- 
ferent ways. Assessors' figures were consulted 
wherever available. Comparisons with the reports 
of "usual" acreage were made. Individual farm 
reports of actual acreage in 1916 and 1915 were 
consulted. The relation between the acreage of one 
crop and the acreage of others was calculated. An 
inquiry was made among reporters as to the pro- 
portion of total crop area devoted to different 
crops. No single method of ascertaining acreage is 
without some defect. This composite method of es- 
timating acreage is far from being perfected. The 
Field Agent, with his intimate knowledge of his 
State, is better able to analyze the various data 
and account for or harmonize differences than is 
the Statistician at Washington. Therefore it is con- 
templated that during the present year the Sta- 
tistician will confer with each Agent individually, 
and go over with him the various data and the 
method of coming to a final acreage estimate." 



Cooperative Crop Reporting with States 

Beginning as far back as 1852, some States 
had been utilizing the tax assessors to collect 
agricultural statistics each year. State statis- 
tical agents and special field agents had made 
use of these data to check on annual estimates. 
Many technical problems arose in using the 
data. Differences in definitions and methods 
of collecting and compiling had to be carefully 
analyzed in making comparisons between 
States or with national census data and na- 
tional estimates. State statisticians were in a 
position to work more closely with the States 
and help in solving some of the problems. 

A number of States issued their own agri- 
cultural estimates. This not only caused con- 
fusion but actually duplicated the national 
service. As the Federal-State statistician be- 
came established and known in a State, these 
conflicts and differences became more evident. 
The statistician was in position to discuss 
these matters with the State officials, usually 
the commissioner of agriculture, the State col- 
lege, or experiment station officials that were 
heavy users of the statistics. A number of part- 
time statistical agents and special field agents 
had recognized the advantages of developing 
closer working relations with the States. The 
designation of a full-time State statistician in 
a State improved the opportunity to arrange a 
closer, harmonious relationship. 

51 Ibid. 



In 1917, W. F. Callander developed a coop- 
erative agreement with Wisconsin Agricul- 
tural Commissioner Alan Norgord, under 
which the Federal Statistician for the State 
compiled the agricultural statistics for both 
State and Federal purposes. This met with im- 
mediate approval by all concerned. At the an- 
nual meeting of the National Association of 
Commissioners, Secretaries, and Directors of 
Agriculture in 1917, Commissioner Norgord 
reported the signing of the cooperative agree- 
ment in glowing terms : 

The St. Louis meeting in 1917 was when we 
started a federal-state crop reporting service. Wil- 
liam Callander was the federal reporting man 
(state statistical agent) in Wisconsin while I was 
Commissioner. He and I had talked over forming 
a cooperative crop reporting service before World 
War One, but we did not get down to business 
until this meeting called by Secretary Houston at 
St. Louis to organize agriculture for war. Then it 
occurred to me that while the war was going on we 
needed the best kind of crop reporting service 
possible to report the prospective production each 
year. I went to St. Louis and suggested to Secretary 
Houston that we form such an organization in 
Wisconsin. He was interested and sent a wire to 
Mr. Estabrook, head of the Crop Reporting Service, 
asking him to draw up a plan of cooperation be- 
tween the U.S. Department of Agriculture and 
the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture as a 
basis for forming a cooperative crop reporting 
service in Wisconsin and have it on my desk when 
I got back from the meeting in St. Louis. The 
agreement was there and I called Mr. Callander, 
signed it, and Mr. Callander started in my office 
as the first head of a cooperative crop reporting 
service in the United States. 62 

Cooperation with the States ushered in a 
new dimension in the crop and livestock esti- 
mating program. The cooperative work grew 
rapidly after 1917 as other States joined the 
plan within a very few years. Cooperative 
agreements with States are based on the prin- 
ciple that the two can work together more 
economically than either can work alone. The 
plan is entirely voluntary. Each party to the 
cooperation is at liberty to discontinue with 
30 days formal notice to the other. This plan 
of operation has resulted in the elimination of 
duplication of effort between the States and 
the Federal Government, making possible 
more service for less cost. 53 



52 Holton, John C. Proceedings of the National Assoc- 
iation of Commissioners, Secretaries, and Directors of 
Agriculture— 1916-1955. 1960, pp. 151-52. 

r>3 Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Crop Esti- 
mates, Fiscal Year 1919. Leon M. Estabrook, Chief. 



61 



Bureau of Crop Estimates in World War I 

Between the time of reorganization of the 
Bureau in 1914 and entry of the United States 
into the war in 1917, there was an increase in 
the demand for coverage of additional crops. 
Reports on two important truck crops, cab- 
bage and onions, were started in 1914. In 1916 
the coverage was extended to include potatoes, 
cantaloups, watermelons, celery, strawberries, 
sweet corn, peas, tomatoes for canning, and 
cucumbers for pickles. Forecasts of cotton pro- 
duction during the growing season were 
started in 1915. 

By 1917 the one truck crop specialist that 
had been appointed in 1914 was supplemented 
by three additional truck crop men assigned 
to the Atlantic and Gulf Coast States. At the 
same time, three assistant fruit specialists 
were assigned to survey the important fruit 
areas, and set up an estimating program for 
apples. 

The war created an urgent demand for sta- 
tistical information on practically all phases 
of agricultural production. The Bureau was al- 
lotted $117,040 from the Food Production Act 
to meet the unusual demands for special in- 
formation. The Chief of the Bureau summar- 
ized the work of the Bureau during the war 
in his annual report for fiscal year 1919: 



A vast amount of information was compiled and 
furnished in response to inquiries received by tele- 
phone, telegraph, letter, or personal call of repre- 
sentatives of the Food Administration, the War 
Trade Board, the War Industries Board, the Mili- 
tary Intelligence Office of the War Department, 
the Tariff Commission, the Federal Trade Commis- 
sion, the Council of National Defense, other de- 
partments of the Federal and State Governments, 
Congress, and private individuals. . . . 

The Bureau compiled innumerable statements 
showing the production, consumption, surplus and 
deficiency, exports and imports, and prices of im- 
portant agricultural products for all the principal 
countries before the war, and of production and 
requirements during the war, for the information 
of administrative officials of the Department of 
Agriculture, of other Federal departments, and 
various war-emergency organizations. . . . Many 
special inquiries were made, including: 

Quantity of commercial fertilizers used per acre 
of cotton and proportion of fields upon which used. 

Percentage of various crops to which commercial 
fertilizer and manure was supplied and quantity 
used per acre. 

Binder twine requirements for the grain crops of 
1918 for use of the Grain Corporation. 

Emergency live-stock survey, to determine the 
number of farms, July 1, 1918 and January 1919. 

Uses made of wheat crop, for the United States 
Food Administration. 



Quantities of various crops fed to different class- 
es of live-stock. 

Live-stock survey of January, 1919. 

Fertilizer inquiry of January, 1919, to ascertain 
quantity of commercial fertilizers and manure used 
for various crops. 

Wages of farm help. 

Prices farmers pay for equipment, machinery, 
and supplies." 

Following the armistice, November 11, 1918, 
there was a decline in the demand for special 
surveys by the various war agencies. Demand 
for food for shipment to Europe continued 
heavy, however, and there was reluctance to 
relinquish some of the service that had been 
developed during the war. Commercial potato 
production estimates were continued and ex- 
panded to include monthly stock reports. Esti- 
mates of poultry on farms were begun in 1919. 
Estimates of production of vegetables were 
continued at the wartime level until 1921 when 
a sharp drop in appropriations forced curtail- 
ment of this program. The war conditions and 
the position of the United States as the food 
basket for war-torn Europe emphasized the 
requirement not only for more statistics on 
more crops but for more accurate statistics. 

By 1920, the Bureau was estimating pro- 
duction on 29 crops as compared with 13 crops 
10 years earlier, and condition reports were 
being issued on 44 crops — just about double 
the number in 1910. 

George K. Holmes and the Division of Foreign 
Markets 55 

The Division of Foreign Markets deserves 
special attention here because of its significant 
contribution to the development of the crop 
and livestock estimating work. This Division 
was the outgrowth of Jacob R. Dodge's in- 
terest in statistics over and beyond the esti- 
mates of production for the United States. 
By 1892, there was a section within his Di- 
vision compiling information to increase ex- 
ports to Latin America. Before he retired in 
1893, he made a report to Secretary Rusk that 
resulted in the establishment of a separate 
Foreign Markets Section in 1894 that became 
a division in 1904. 55a 



54 Ibid., p. 3. 

55 Discussion on this section is based largely on H. C. 
and Anne Dewees Taylor's book, The Story of Agri- 
cultural Economics in the United States, 1840-1932. 
(College Press, Ames, Iowa, 1952, pp. 524-533). 

ss ° U.S. Department of Agriculture, Annual Report, 
1892, p. 35. 



62 



This Division was responsible for gathering 
information and compiling statistics on for- 
eign crop production, on exports and imports, 
and on various aspects of the manufacturing 
and processing industry. In addition, the Di- 
vision made special studies on a wide range of 
subjects. Investigations were made of the 
world meat trade; the comparative healthful- 
ness of meat animals in different countries; 
world cotton production; the British market 
for dairy products and sources of supply; 
freight rates and world production and trade 
in meat, barley, rye, potatoes, tobacco, and 
various other products. 

Foreign trade in agricultural products was 
an important part of the economy of the Na- 
tion, so there was great interest in these in- 
vestigations. But the Division held an im- 
portant place in the Department for another 
reason. The Chief, George K. Holmes, was a 
man of unusual ability and breadth of knowl- 
edge. He had joined the Division of Statistics 
in 1895 and soon made an important place for 
himself. When he became Chief of the Division 
of Foreign Markets, he found himself thinking 
in terms of marketing and distribution as well 
as production, both foreign and domestic. In an 
article in the Yearbook of 1903 entitled "The 
Nation's Farm Surplus" he described the dis- 
tribution to foreign markets of surpluses pro- 
duced by the farmers of the United States. He 
prepared annual estimates of gross value of 
farm products together with the text for the 
Secretary of Agriculture's Annual Report. This 
report stimulated great interest in the impor- 
tance of egg production from the "Great 
American Hen," a term quoted in the papers 
for some time. In 1907 he published a bulletin 
on the cost of handling produce from farm to 
shipping point and another on the U.S. meat 
supply and surplus. 

The interest of the Department of Agricul- 
ture in marketing during this period con- 
tinued to grow. The Bureau of Plant Industry 
had been developing standards for cotton, and 
in 1906 a specialist had been employed to 
study the quality factors in grain with a view 
to establishing quality standards that could be 
used in commerce. Holmes had been thinking 
about this subject also. In the Yearbook of 
1904 he published an article on fruits entitled 
"Consumers' Fancies." 



In 1908 the name of the Division of Foreign 
Markets was changed to the Division of Pro- 
duction and Distribution. The name of the Di- 
vision was the same as the title of the report 
that Dodge presented to Secretary Rusk just 
before he retired in 1893. 

In 1910 and in 1911 Congress expressed an 
interest in the marketing work, asking the 
Department to study the subject, but no funds 
were appropriated for the project. In 1912 the 
Appropriations Act for 1913 again directed 
the Secretary to study the matter and make 
such recommendations to the Congress as he 
deemed necessary. Secretary Wilson asked 
each branch of the Department of Agriculture 
to indicate what was being done in the De- 
partment and what might be done in a new 
division of markets. Heads of business con- 
cerns were called upon to supply information 
also. George K. Holmes was assigned to super- 
vise the study and prepare a report. 

On December 26, 1912, Secretary Wilson 
endorsed a publication prepared by the experts 
of the Department concerning systems of 
marketing farm products and the demand for 
such products at trade centers. It was a vol- 
uminous report that discussed the marketing 
work that was underway in the Department, 
and most of the ideas then current with re- 
spect to the problems and what might be done 
to alleviate them. Some special attention was 
given to the problem of market reporting. 
Studies had been made of the method of re- 
porting in some of the European markets, par- 
ticularly the Berlin market. After a discus- 
sion of the many problems that might be en- 
countered, the report concluded that to main- 
tain a market news service at each of the main 
trading centers it would be necessary to em- 
ploy men to be in constant touch with the 
markets. These men would need to report by 
telegraph, daily or oftener, the prices of farm 
products and the state of the market with re- 
gard to supplies. The cost of such a service 
would be enormous — as much as $1 million — 
and the report did not recommend establishing 
the service. It did recommend that the Crop 
Reporting Service provide forecasts of prob- 
able production on crops. It also stated that a 
division of markets, if established, should be 
equipped for ascertaining in connection with 
other crop reporting services prospective quan- 



63 



tities of vegetables, fruit, berries, and other 
crops. 55b 

In his summary for the year ending June 
30, 1912, Secretary Wilson reported the work 
of George K. Holmes under the subject head- 
ing "Agricultural Economics." In this report, 
the Secretary said: 

The Division of Production and Distribution has 
developed a scope of work in directions heretofore 
little, if at all, explored. It has created a general 
survey of agricultural conditions and accomplish- 
ments in the United States composed of the more 
important elements of production in quantity and 
value ; of national surplus, deficiency, and consump- 
tion; of farm wealth and labor; and of economic 
achievement and agricultural progress. 650 

Thus did the work of this division presage 
the establishment of the Office of Markets and 
probably to some extent the Bureau of Agri- 
cultural Economics. 

A Growing Interest in Agricultural Economics 

Developments in the other Bureaus of the 
Department were having an influence on the 
Bureau of Crop Estimates in a number of 
ways. As farm management work developed, 
demand for more crop and livestock estimates 
rose but it tended to emphasize the need for 
greater accuracy in the estimates. 

Murray noted that in the period from 1910 
to 1914 several young men in the Department 
formed a "Rural Economics Club" at the meet- 
ings of which he obtained many suggestions 
for special investigations. Among those mem- 
bers mentioned was E. A. Goldenweiser, a 
well-trained statistician and economist, who 
later became director of statistics and eco- 
nomics for the Federal Reserve Board. Another 
member mentioned was B. B. Hare. 56 Hare had 
taught economics and history at Leesville Col- 
lege (defunct) in South Carolina from 1906 to 
1908. He came to the Department of Agricul- 



BBb Holmes, George K., Systems of Marketing Farm 
Products and Demand for Such Products at Trade 
Centers, USDA, Departmental Report 98, 1912; Caro- 
line B. Sherman, "The Legal Basis of the Marketing 
Work of the United States Department of Agricul- 
ture," Agr. Hist. 11 (Oct. 1937): 289-301; Gladys L. 
Baker, Wayne D. Rasmussen, Vivian Wiser, and Jane 
Porter, Century of Service, pp. 35, 56-61. 

550 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Annual Report, 
1912, p. 195. 

68 Murray, op. cit. 



ture as assistant in agricultural education in the 
Office of Experiment Stations in 1911. He was 
appointed State statistical agent in South Caro- 
lina with the reorganization in 1914. He served 
as a Congressman from 1924 to 1940. In 1966 he 
helped celebrate the Centennial of the Statis- 
tical Reporting Service. George K. Holmes of 
the Bureau of Statistics was also a member of 
the group. Undoubtedly, W. J. Spillman, Chief 
of the Office of Farm Management, was a mem- 
ber. The significant point is that there was 
active interest on the part of a group of 
leaders in the broad implications of many 
widespread developments in more or less dis- 
associated units in the Department that were 
related to the economic development of agri- 
culture. These men recognized the desirability 
of improving communication among men 
working in these related fields. 

The first step toward bringing together 
some of the activities was taken when H. C. 
Taylor, Professor of Agricultural Economics 
at the University of Wisconsin, came to the 
Department as chief of the Office of Farm 
Management in 1919. On July 1 of that year 
the name was changed to the Office of Farm 
Management and Farm Economics. On July 1, 
1920, the Office was removed from the Secre- 
tary's office and set up as a separate unit. 57 

Another move in the direction of bringing 
together related lines of work was taken in 
1915 when the Office of Markets combined 
with the Rural Organization Service to be- 
come the Office of Markets and Rural Organi- 
zation. The program developed rapidly under 
the direction of Charles Brand. 

As previously noted, the Grain Standards 
Act, the Warehouse Act, and the Standard 
Container Act were approved in 1916 and 
their administration assigned to the Office of 
Markets and Rural Organization. This greatly 
expanded the responsibilities of the Office. The 
Grain Standards Act carried an appropriation 
of $250,000 and the Warehouse Act, $50,000, 
which, with the regular appropriation of 
$872,590, made a total of $1,172,590 available 
for the Office. Marketing work from other 
bureaus had also been transferred to the Office. 
With this expanded program the Office offi- 



67 Wiser, Vivian. Preliminary Inventory of the Rec- 
ords of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Natl. 
Arch, and Records Serv., Publ. 59-1, 1958, p. 3. 



64 



daily became the Bureau of Markets in July 
1917. 

CHAPTER 7. POST WORLD WAR I, THE 
DECADE OF THE 1920'S 

Henry C. Wallace Appointed Secretary of 
Agriculture 

Henry C. Wallace was appointed Secretary 
of Agriculture March 5, 1921. When he came 
to Washington, he was described as one who 
made it his business to know farmers' needs 
and to further "good farming and good think- 
ing on problems connected with food produc- 
tion and distribution." 5S He had been editor of 
Wallace's Farmer and in that position had be- 
come thoroughly familiar with the crop re- 
porting activities. 

When Wallace took the oath of office, U.S. 
agriculture had entered upon a sharp and dam- 
aging depression, and agricultural groups 
were turning to the Government for aid. 
President Harding's cabinet was divided on 
agricultural policy. His Secretary of Com- 
merce, Herbert Hoover, represented the con- 
servative attitude. He considered the proper 
scope of the Department of Agriculture to be 
limited to production. He indicated that the 
Department of Commerce should be con- 
cerned with the marketing of agricultural 
products. Wallace, on the other hand, took a 
broader view of the functions of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. At a dinner that the 
Standard Farm Paper Publishers' Association 
gave for New York businessmen, Wallace 
said, "The Department of Agriculture is 
charged with the duty of promoting agricul- 
ture in its broadest sense." To him, this meant 
any aspect of production or marketing of agri- 
cultural commodities. 59 

Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates 

There was some discussion, particularly af- 
ter Charles Brand left as Chief of the Bureau 
of Markets in 1919, concerning the commun- 
ity of interest between the Bureau of Crop 
Estimates and the Bureau of Markets. Nat 
Murray, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of 



58 "A Century of Service— The First 100 Years of the 
United States Department of Agriculture." p. 101. 1963. 
"Ibid., p. 102. 



Crop Estimates, credits George Livingston, 
who succeeded Brand as Chief of the Bureau 
of Markets, with suggesting the combination 
of the two Bureaus. The Bureau of Markets 
and Crop Estimates was established in 1921, 
and H. C. Taylor became Chief of the 
Bureau. 60 Estabrook was named Associate 
Chief but continued to act as chairman of the 
Crop Reporting Board. Nat Murray was placed 
in charge of the rest of the crop reporting 
work that in the course of the year had at 
least four different designations. 

Consolidation of Economic Work— Bureau of 
Agricultural Economics 

When Henry C. Taylor became chief of the 
Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates, it was 
only an intermediate step toward his ultimate 
objective of combining all agricultural econo- 
mics in one Bureau. On May 25, 1921, the 
Secretary of Agriculture appointed an econo- 
mic committee composed of bureau chiefs. The 
committee was directed to study economic con- 
ditions of agriculture, consult with agricultural 
leaders, draw up recommendations for dealing 
with the problems, and study the economic 
work within the Department. Economists con- 
sulted by the committee included Thomas F. 
Hunt, Andrew Boss, G. F. Warren, G. T. 
Christie, and Thomas P. Cooper. The report, 
made on June 18, 1921, recommended the con- 
solidation of all economic research and ser- 
vice activities in a Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics. Taylor developed plans for the es- 
tablishment of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics, but formal consolidation had to 
await legal authorization. On July 9, 1921, he 
issued instructions for integrating the Bureau 
of Markets and Crop Estimates with the Office 
of Farm Management and Farm Economics. 
G. F. Warren, Head of the Department of 
Agricultural Economics at Cornell University, 
was appointed in 1921 as a consulting spe- 
cialist to assist Taylor, Chief of the Bureau of 
Markets and Crop Estimates, in the reor- 
ganization and consolidation. 

The Bureau of Agricultural Economics was 
formally established on July 1, 1922, under 
authority of the Agricultural Appropriation 
Act. The Bureau was organized around three 



Murray, op. cit., p. 717. 



65 



functional headings: production, marketing, 
and general. The production divisions included 
Farm Management, Cost of Production, and 
Crop and Livestock Estimates. The marketing 
divisions were : Cotton ; Fruits and Vegetables ; 
Warehousing; Livestock, Meats and Wool; 
Hay, Feed, and Seed; City Markets-Washing- 
ton Center Market; Grain; Dairy and Poul- 
try Products; and Cost of Marketing. Divi- 
sions assigned more general functions were 
Agricultural Finance, Agricultural Coopera- 
tion, Farm Population and Rural Life, Land 
Economics, Statistical and Historical Research, 
and Information. 61 The foreign work, in which 
Holmes had been so interested, was assigned 
to the Division of Statistical and Historical 
Research. Holmes, however, remained with 
the Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates. 

Callander Appointed Chief of the Division of 
Crop and Livestock Estimates 

Nat C. Murray continued as chief of the 
Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates of 
the Bureau of Agricultural Economics until he 
resigned in 1922 to return to private industry. 
W. F. Callander, who had been statistician in 
charge of Wisconsin and later in charge of 
Ohio, had been brought to Washington in 1921 
as Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of 
Markets and Crop Estimates. He was appointed 
Chief of the Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates in 1923. 62 William A. Schoenfield, 
Assistant Chief of BAE, was designated chair- 
man of the Crop Reporting Board and served 
until 1924 when Callander was appointed chair- 
man. 

Joseph A. Becker, who had been the agri- 
cultural statistician in Wisconsin, was trans- 
ferred to Washington after the reorganization 
in 1922. Becker had experience in farm man- 
agement work, including the conduct of farm 
management survey activities, and taught farm 
accounting and cost accounting before becom- 
ing a statistical field agent in 1918. He was 
attached to the Washington staff to head re- 
search on methods and serve on the Crop Re- 
porting Board. He operated as Assistant Chief 
of the Division. 



61 Century of Service, pp. 107-108. 

62 Personnel records of SRS — personnel action signed 
by Estabrook, May 1922. 



Statistics Conference of 1923 

The consolidation of the economic work in 
the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, had an 
immediate effect on the full interchange be- 
tween workers in related fields. Henry C. Tay- 
lor was concerned with knitting the new or- 
ganization together. To this end, he took an 
active part in organizing a national conference 
of the Crop and Livestock Estimates Division 
held at Indianapolis October 22 to 24, 1923. 
Arrangements were made to have members of 
other Divisions of the Bureau participate by 
presenting papers and entering into discus- 
sions. 

The most discussed items centered around 
the problems of estimating numbers of live- 
stock and acreage of crops. This called for con- 
siderable discussion of sampling and sample 
analysis. Two papers were of particular sig- 
nificance, one by Howard R. Tolley and one 
by Bradford B. Smith. 

Tolley, in charge of the Division of Farm 
Management and an accomplished statistician, 
devoted his paper to "Testing Crop Reports 
for Accuracy." He dealt with the problem of 
statistical accuracy and, characteristic of the 
good teacher, discussed in a simple, under- 
standable manner, standard deviation, the pro- 
bable error, and the probable error of the dif- 
ference between two averages. All simple 
enough concepts, but Tolley knew his audience 
was largely unfamiliar with the statistical 
terms and techniques, so his purpose was to 
introduce the subject and stir up interest in 
learning the use of the tools of the statistician. 
He was successful in his objective as evidenced 
by later developments. 

Bradford B. Smith, a trained statistician 
and at that time in charge of the Machine 
Tabulation Section, gave a paper on "The Use 
of Correlation Methods in Forecasting." Smith, 
new in the Bureau, attracted interest to the 
use of correlation techniques. He had consi- 
derable influence, not only on the statisticians 
in attendance at the conference, but on re- 
search people in the whole Bureau. 

These papers by Tolley and Smith dealt 
specifically with problems of particular concern 
to Callander, and several other members of 
the Division. Joseph A. Becker and Charles 
F. Sarle contributed to the objective of en- 



66 



couraging study of statistical methods by all 
members of the staff. 

Becker presented a paper, "The Representa- 
tive Sample in Relation to Agricultural Data." 
He went into the question of the adequacy of 
the sample data on which current estimates 
were based and pointed out statistical bias in 
the data. Becker presented the value of the 
individual farm inquiry and from the com- 
ments made by several statisticians it was evi- 
dent that the individual farm inquiry (though 
collection of such data was started in 1911) 
was not in general use at the time of the con- 
ference. 63 

Becker also indicated that the bias involved 
in reports of livestock numbers was similar 
to that encountered in the acreage samples. 
He presented a brief analysis of the new pro- 
cedure for collecting information on the pig 
crop under a cooperative arrangement with the 
rural mail carriers that had been started in 
June 1922. He showed that this sample also 
tended to be selective because it included a 
disproportionate number of the larger farms 
and therefore had to be analyzed carefully in 
using the survey results. The fact that an in- 
quiry is biased does not mean that it is of no 
value. 

The Agricultural Statistician for Iowa, 
Charles F. Sarle, presented several papers deal- 
ing with sampling and correlation methods in 
forecasting. Sarle was keenly interested in 
statistics as a tool in the service and was 
shortly to be transferred to the Washington 
office to take over the price reporting work. 
From this position he provided active stimula- 
tion for the development of an in-service 
training program in statistics. 

D. A. McCandliss, Statistician for Mississip- 
pi, reported on the development of the "crop 
meter." This was a device with 12 keys and 
dials that was connected to the speedometer 
cable of a car. As the statistician drove along 
the road and came abreast of a field of corn 
he depressed the corn key. If the next field 
was cotton, he depressed the cotton key, which 
automatically threw the corn key out of gear 
and recorded the cotton frontage, and so on 
for other crops or other types of land use. This 



63 This was checked in a personal interview with 
Becker in March 1966, and he verified the fact that 
these individual farm data did not come into general 
use until after 1920. 



device to secure an objective measure of change 
of acreage from year to year proved quite use- 
ful for a number of years. 

Another man who figured prominently in 
the 1923 conference was C. L. Harlan. He had 
come to the Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates from long experience in Iowa with 
the Corn Belt Meat Producers' Association 
and with the market news service of the De- 
partment of Agriculture. He had worked in 
the Chicago Stockyards where he dealt with 
market statistics. To Harlan belongs most of 
the credit for improvement of the livestock re- 
porting during this period. 

Crop Estimates in the Twenties 

The decade of the 1920's was a period when 
agricultural thinking was turning to economic 
questions. There was an upsurge in the coopera- 
tive movement. The American Farm Bureau 
Federation, as well as the Farmers Union, was 
promoting the idea. The Secretary was asked 
to speak at a meeting in Chicago on April 6, 
1921, at which a plan for a grain marketing 
cooperative supported by the Farm Bureau 
Federation was presented. In his speech the 
Secretary said: 

It is not the business of the Department to 
organize marketing associations, but it is properly 
its business to make available the most reliable 
information it can concerning the organization and 
operation of such associations. 64 

After July 1922, the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics expanded economic research. Land 
grant universities were also expanding activi- 
ties in agricultural economics research. There 
was growing pressure for the development of 
a national agricultural policy. 

All these developments in cooperative mark- 
eting and economic research were creating an 
increasing pressure for more and more statis- 
tical information on all aspects of agricultural 
production and marketing. 

Prospective Planting Reports 

Taylor had promoted the idea of an annual 
outlook report. His immediate purpose was to 
provide information on the probable supplies 
and price trends early enough in the season 



81 USDA Press Release 705-21. 



67 



to permit farmers to adjust production and 
plans in light of prospective trends. Of prim- 
ary value in preparing the analysis necessary 
for the report would be some information early 
in the year on what the farmers were planning 
to do. The Crop and Livestock Estimates Divi- 
sion set about plans to provide the kind of in- 
formation that was needed for the outlook pro- 
gram. The Pig Crop Report, started in 1922, 
was an important part of the basic informa- 
tion. To meet the additional need for data on 
cropping plans, a survey was introduced in 
April 1923 on farmers' intentions to plant nine 
of the principal spring-sown crops. Cotton was 
one of the crops included. The report showed 
that farmers were planning to increase cotton 
acreage by 12 percent. A decline in cotton 
price which followed was blamed on the acre- 
age increase shown by the intentions report. 
Actually, the increase as shown by the July 
acreage report was greater than the intentions 
report had indicated. Despite this, Congress in 
May 1924 enacted legislation prohibiting the 
inclusion of cotton in intentions to plant re- 
ports. This legislation remained in effect until 
1958 when the law was repealed. 

The first outlook conference was held April 
20-21, 1923. In the development of the outlook 
reports, the statisticians of the Crop and Live- 
stock Estimates Division took a leading part 
as committee chairmen in the preparation of 
the analysis and writing the reports for pre- 
sentation to the conference. 

The report of planting intentions for other 
crops was made a permanent part of the pro- 
gram, and the coverage has been expanded 
through the years. The first reports showed 
only the percentage changes as shown by the 
sample. Later, about 1929, it became obvious 
that the optimism of farmers led to an over- 
statement of the acreage intended. The 1931 
reports, therefore, made allowances for the ob- 
served departures between intentions and har- 
vested acreage. The next year the report showed 
farmers intended to increase spring wheat 
acreage by 53 percent over the harvested acre- 
age in 1931. Because of heavy abandonment, 
the harvested acreage turned out only slightly 
more than 1931. This pointed up the need for 
using planted acreage for comparison with the 
intention reports. Estimates of planted acre- 
age were started, and by 1938 sufficient series 
had been developed to analyze relationships be- 



tween planted acres and intentions. At this 
time, the report of intentions for planting be- 
came a report of "prospective plantings" where- 
in the intentions were interpreted in relation 
to actual plantings. 65 

Livestock Program Expanded 

Prior to 1920, reports on livestock were 
limited chiefly to estimates of the number and 
value of the different species on farms January 
1, by States. Subjective reports from crop re- 
porters giving their judgment of the percent- 
age of change were the principal source of in- 
formation used in the estimates. A beginning 
had been made in 1919, when individual farm 
reports as of January 1 were made, covering 
numbers "this year" and "last year" from 
which percentage change was computed, and 
in 1920 when the number of livestock for the 
current year was reported by age and sex 
classes. In 1918, a special livestock reporters' 
list had been built up. These reporters were 
asked to submit reports of the numbers on their 
farms at the beginning and end of each month, 
showing the items of increase (births and pur- 
chases) and the items of decrease (sales, 
slaughter, and deaths). Because of the small 
size and nonrepresentativeness of the sample, 
the results were not dependable. 

Following World War I, the need and de- 
mand for more adequate statistics on livestock 
numbers and the production of livestock and 
livestock products grew apace. This was a per- 
iod of rapid organization of farmers into gen- 
eral and commodity bureaus, unions, associa- 
tions, and cooperatives. In the livestock indus- 
try, this was reflected in the development of 
local livestock shipping associations, the begin- 
ning of the invasion of stockyard markets by 
cooperative selling agencies, and the setting up 
of special livestock sections in the general farm 
organizations. This was a time, too, when the 
packing industry, both as organized in the In- 
stitute of American Meat Packers, and as in- 
dividual packers, began to expand commercial 
research. 

The postwar decline in prices of livestock 
and livestock products resulted in heavy losses 
to both producers and packers. This emphasized 



65 Becker, J. A. and Harlan, C. L., Developments in 
Crop and Livestock Reporting Since 1920. Jour. Farm 
Econ. 21 (4): 803-804, Nov. 1939. 



. 



68 



the demand that something be done to stabi- 
lize the livestock industry, both as to produc- 
tion and marketing. 

The problem of the hog crop was of imme- 
diate concern. The 1921 crop had been mark- 
eted without adequate information, and early 
in 1922 the supply ran out before packers had 
accumulated stocks sufficient for spring and 
summer demands. Hog prices soared but too 
late to benefit the farmer. Something needed 
to be done immediately to provide adequate 
information. The question was how to expand 
the sample to get the needed information. 

The Division, with the support of the Chief 
of the Bureau, was giving attention to the 
problem. Secretary Wallace was much inter- 
ested, and recognizing the necessity for addi- 
tional funds to expand the program, he ap- 
peared before the House Committee on Appro- 
priations and appealed for funds for livestock 
estimates. The additional appropriation was 
granted in the Appropriation Act of 1922-23, 
and work on expanding the livestock estimat- 
ing work was begun. 

Taylor tells the story of the beginning of the 
so-called "Rural Mail Carrier" survey which 
was brought to bear on the problem: 

One morning in the spring of 1922 Secretary 
Wallace and Postmaster General Work rode to the 
office together. The result was a suggestion that 
the rural mail carriers assist in gathering live- 
stock statistics. It appears that the Postmaster 
General was happy to cooperate. Secretary Wal- 
lace at once took the matter up with the Bureau 
of Agricultural Economics and the suggestion was 
referred to the associate chief in charge of crop 
and livestock estimates, L. M. Estabrook, whose 
reaction was that the rural mail carriers had been 
tried and found wanting. The chief of the bureau 
then asked W. F. Callander, one of the younger 
members of the Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates, to find a way to use the rural mail 
carriers in collecting livestock statistics. 

Callander prepared a card of inquiry and sug- 
gested that the carrier leave one card in the mail- 
box of each of ten farmers on his route. The card 
called for facts regarding pig production on the 
farm of the farmer who made the report for the 
present and the preceding year, and asked for no 
information from the rural carriers themselves. 
No effort was made to make a census covering all 
farmers. Sample data was the aim. . . . The pro- 
posal was taken to Secretary Wallace who liked it 
and took the matter up with the Post Office De- 
partment where the plan of procedure was ap- 
proved.** 

A livestock section was established in 1922, 
and the name of the Division of Crop Esti- 
mates was changed to the Division of Crop 



and Livestock Estimates. Before deciding on a 
program for the new section, a number of con- 
ferences were held in different parts of the 
country, at which representatives of the De- 
partment, farm and livestock organizations, 
marketing agencies, railroads, and packers dis- 
cussed the character of the information needed. 
As a result of these discussions, a program of 
reports was decided upon, and the reports 
were gradually developed during the next few 
years. The first pig crop report based on the 
rural carrier sample was issued in June 1922. 

Another innovation was the acquisition of 
information from stockyard companies and 
direct buyers, railroad records of cars of live- 
stock received and forwarded by stations, 
brand inspections covering shipment by States, 
and sanitary inspection records covering 
shipments into and (in some cases) from dif- 
ferent States. These records of the movement 
of livestock to and from States were used in 
the development of the annual balance sheets 
for different species of livestock by States. 
These sheets showed as supply items the num- 
ber on hand at the beginning of the year, the 
number born, and the number shipped into 
the States; and as disposition items the num- 
ber shipped out, slaughtered on farms or local- 
ly, and death losses. The difference between 
the supply and disposition items was the in- 
dicated number at the end of the year. Pre- 
paration of the balance sheets and estimates 
began about 1926; estimates by States have 
been available since 1924. 

An experimental individual farm inquiry on 
"milk cows on hand" and "milk produced yes- 
terday," tried in Wisconsin in 1923, proved 
successful. It was adopted for the United States 
in the fall of the following year. The indi- 
vidual farm samples for one day of each month 
formed the principal basis for monthly reports 
of milk production per cow and annual esti- 
mates of milk production. The first quantita- 
tive estimates of milk production by States 
and the United States were published in March 
1930 as part of the income report for 1924- 
28. 67 

Individual farm sampling of hens and eggs 
for one day each month was begun in 1924. 
The first estimate of chickens on farms and 



Taylor, op. cit., p. 248. 



m Farm Value, Gross Income, and Cash Income from 
Farm Production. Mimeographed Report, Bur. Agr. 
Econ., Mar. 1930. 



69 



egg production for the United States by States 
was also part of the March 1930 income re- 
port. 68 

Objective Measures for Cotton 

In 1925 Frank Parker, statistician for North 
Carolina, presented a plan for collecting counts 
on the number of plants, bolls of cotton, and 
other objective measurements of the cotton 
crop. The procedure established consisted of 
laying out definite routes through the cotton 
area. Usually, a two-man team traveled these 
routes in August and September. A stop was 
made every 10 miles, and the cotton fields were 
examined on each side of the road. Each of 
the men carried a pole 5 feet long, and they 
moved into the field a prescribed number of 
paces and measured off 15 feet of row. A re- 
cord was made of the number of plants in the 
15 feet, the number of large bolls, small bolls, 
burs, blooms, and squares. A sample of 10 
open bolls, 10 large bolls, and 10 small bolls 
was taken. Observations with respect to other 
significant features of the field were also noted. 
While one man drove, the other's job was to 
cut the bolls and record the results of the ob- 
servations before reaching the 10-mile point 
for the next stop and count. The cotton counts 
were started in 1928 in most cotton producing 
States. 

The counts on cotton provided an indepen- 
dent indication of probable yield. Corn and 
wheat counts were developed later and used in 
a similar manner. The counts were continued 
up to World War II. Difficulty in securing gaso- 
line and tires and limitation of travel funds 
necessitated discontinuance of the procedure. 

An important aspect of field counts was the 
opportunity afforded the statistician to observe 
crop conditions in a systematic manner. One 
of the important requirements for an agricul- 
tural statistician has always been that he know 
and understand agriculture. A trained and ex- 
perienced man derives a great deal of infor- 
mation from observations of the crops. Type of 
soil and its condition are important to him. 
Diseases can often be spotted quickly, while 
the color of the plant tells a great deal about 
future prospects. Variety is important in many 
crops. Condition of pasture is important not 
only to the livestock enterprise but is also an 
indicator of moisture and general crop pros- 



Ibid. 



pects. An agricultural statistician will often 
say that crops talk if you understand their 
language. 

Decentralization of the Division 

When the State statistical offices were es- 
tablished in 1914, the statistician in charge 
immediately began building up the crop re- 
porting lists. The program of Federal-State 
cooperation that started in 1917 developed ra- 
pidly. By 1922 the number of States cooperat- 
ing had reached 26. As the office became better 
established and clerical help and assistant sta- 
tisticians were assigned, the list building and 
control progressed more rapidly. States with 
assessors' enumerations had an excellent source 
of names. When the rural carrier surveys were 
started in 1922 and later expanded to include 
acreage surveys., another source of names be- 
came available. To strengthen the sampling 
basis for the reports and improve the efficiency 
of the organization, Callander proposed that 
maintenance of the mailing lists and tabula- 
tion and analysis of the returns be delegated 
to the State offices. 

The idea of decentralizing the operations was 
tried out in 1927 with the best equipped of- 
fices. The experiment proved successful and 
although some of the staff still had reserva- 
tions on some reports, the plan was continued 
until by 1932 practically all lists of corres- 
pondents had been transferred to the field. At 
that time, of a total list of about 250,000 vo- 
luntary reporters, only about 7,000 continued 
to report to Washington. For the most part 
these consisted of special lists involving dairy 
and poultry processing plants, cold storage 
plants, and chainstores, most of which involved 
multiple State estimates. 

This broad-scale delegation of responsibility 
to State offices puts the reporting service in a 
unique position in terms of the high degree of 
decentralization achieved. 

The Agricultural Census of 1925 

The crop and livestock estimating program 
had depended from the beginning on the agri- 
cultural census for a new base or benchmark 
each 10 years. Annual estimates provided by 
the crop and livestock estimating program were 
basically projections from the census base by 
applying the percentage change from the cur- 
rent samples to the preceding year. 



70 



Much of the statistician's effort in preparing 
annual estimates was devoted to a comparison 
of the sample with patterns in the census and 
devising procedures to avoid the trap of cumu- 
lative bias. At times this bias led to wide diver- 
gence between the estimates and the findings 
that became available subsequently for a census 
year. The statisticians of the Division of Crop 
and Livestock Estimates had, therefore, always 
been much interested in the census and had 
collaborated closely with the Bureau of the 
Census. 

Others, too, are interested in the census. 
Those engaged in economic research, farm 
management advisers, and business people are 
all interested in reviewing trends, following 
changes, producing patterns, the way com- 
peting crops divide the territory, and the way 
supplementary or complementary enterprises 
are combined in farming business by locality. 

From time to time, various interested groups 
had stated that 10 years was too long for fac- 
tual checks on so important and complex a 
business as agriculture. As far back as 1902, 
the National Board of Trade had set up a 
Committee of Inquiry into the census and 
recommended a quinquennial census especially 
for agriculture. The committee said in this 
regard : 

In view of the advantage to be expected from 
the Census Bureau being placed on a permanent 
basis, and the promise of a shortened period for 
the presentation of results, the committee favors 
a census report every five years, especially for 
agricultural data which form a basis for calcula- 
tion of area and production by other official serv- 
ice, government and otherwise, as to the more 
prominent crops, and as to the number of farm 
annuals. 69 

Of course, the statisticians of the Division 
of Crop and Livestock Estimates were anxious 
to get more frequent benchmarks. Others, how- 
ever, put forth the argument that a quinquen- 
nial agricultural census could provide much 
more information than would be possible to 
include in the regular decennial census enum- 
eration. 

The first quinquennial census of agriculture 
was taken in January of 1925. The State 
Statistician's office of the Division handled 
the field work, including the hiring and train- 
ing of field enumerators. 



"Taylor, p. 270; Natl. Bd. Trade Proc, pp. 86- 
92-93. Jan. 1903. 



The 5-year census greatly assisted the crop 
and livestock estimators, since it reduced the 
period over which they had to project on the 
basis of samples. Only in recent years has 
anyone dared to advance the theory that prop- 
erly designed samples might give as good or 
even better results at much less cost than a 
full census enumeration. 

Statistical Training 

In early days, statisticians dealt with 
samples largely because they realized there was 
little possibility of obtaining what they consid- 
ered the ideal — a complete count. Most of their 
efforts were directed to extracting reliable in- 
formation from data which they had or could 
obtain within the limits of funds available. 

The theory of probability developed around 
games of chance. The mathematician dealt 
with the calculus of probability in the ab- 
stract, and it was a long time before the 
operating statistician recognized the powerful 
tool the theory offered. 

In the middle twenties, a very real interest 
was developing among practicing statisticians 
in sampling theory. Among the statisticians in 
the Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates, 
early interest in the sampling problems appear 
in Becker's discussion of the problem in his 
work in Wisconsin. His papers presented at the 
1923 Conference pointed out that the 
"samples" being used did not meet the re- 
quirements of the sampling theory of the 
time. 70 

At the same conference John B. Shepard of 
the Washington staff advanced a theory that 
a properly designed sample of 4,000 or 5,000 
farms in New York State, enumerated in each 
of the intercensal years, could provide ac- 
curate information for livestock and crops for 
about one-fourth the costs of a decennial cen- 
sus. He claimed such an annual enumeration 
would make it possible to shorten the question- 
naire used by the census. 71 Shepard did not 
elaborate on the idea but from later publica- 
tions, intra-office memoranda, and discussions 
it is amply apparent that he was thinking in 
terms of sampling techniques which were to be 
adopted some 40 years later. 

Charles F. Sarle's duties included research. 
His first project was a study of the adequacy 

70 Statistical Conference, Indianapolis, pp. 22-27. Oct. 
22-24, 1923. 

71 Ibid., p. 119. 



71 



and reliability of farm prices. The results were 
issued in four statistical bulletins in 1926. 

He recognized, as did Callander, that if the 
Division was to progress, it was essential that 
the competence of the statisticians be 
increased. The need was particularly urgent 
for training statisticians in charge of State 
offices. This was not alone to equip them to do 
a better job in their assigned duties but to 
enable them to do a better job of training new 
statisticians assigned to them. Furthermore, if 
they were recognized as competent professional 
statisticians in their States they could exert 
more influence with the land-grant colleges 
and universities to increase and upgrade the 
statistical training offered, and thereby in- 
crease the pool of trained statisticians from 
which the Division could recruit. 

Sarle suggested to Callander that an inten- 
sive 6-week training course be established in 
Washington for statisticians in charge of State 
offices. The plan was to have about half of them 
attend in each of the first 2 years and to have 
assistant State statisticians attend in the third 
year. The course was planned in consultation 
with H. R. Tolley and with statisticians in the 
Division and the Department. 

The first school was held in 1927 and re- 
peated the next 2 years. It was an intensive 
course running from 8 a.m. to about 5 p.m., 
with heavy evening work assignments. The 
group stuck with the program and was in- 
terested throughout. The program measured 
up to expectations and more. It did not pro- 
duce trained statisticians, but it did provide 
the background for continuing interest and 
stimulated further study, particularly in sam- 
pling techniques and application. Several of 
the statisticians collaborated with their State 
universities by teaching one or more courses 
in crop and livestock estimating methods. 

Correlation Techniques 

In connection with the outlook work, 0. C. 
Stine, Chief of the Division of Statistical and 
Historical Research, and H. R. Tolley, Chief 
of the Division of Farm Management and 
Costs, had built up a staff to study trends. 
Some of the men assigned to this project were 
M. J. B. Ezekiel, L. H. Bean, B. B. Smith, 
G. C. Haas, E. J. Working, H. B. Illough, and 



72 



E. M. Daggitt. 72 While studies produced by all 
these men influenced crop and livestock esti- 
mating work, the most significant contribu- 
tions were made by Ezekiel and Bean. 

Ezekiel experimented with modifying the 
usual multiple correlation methods to reveal 
curvilinear relationships that logically must 
exist in many situations. Briefly, his method 
was to compute the standard linear multiple 
correlation and then test the relationships 
by systematic approximations to ascertain 
whether a curved relationship was justified be- 
cause it more nearly fit the observed data. 
Ezekiel published his method in 1924. 73 His 
work immediately had a profound influence on 
statistical research in all fields. 

Sarle had reported the results of weather 
and corn yield studies with H. A. Wallace at 
the Indianapolis Conference in 1923. Becker 
had also used simple dot charts with freehand 
regression lines that reflected the curvilinear 
relationship that often appeared in the rela- 
tions between condition and yield. In connec- 
tion with an in-service training course for 
field statisticians, the Ezekiel method of 
multiple curvilinear correlation was taught, 
but Sarle also used a graphic approach as a 
quick method of discovering the presence or 
absence of relationships between variables. 
Several statisticians tried fitting free hand 
curves in lieu of the laborious methods re- 
quired by the Ezekiel method. 

L. H. Bean's experimentation with the 
graphic approach led to improvements in 
graphic technique. He showed that it was 
possible to develop the net relations between 
variables by graphic methods and do away 
with the lengthy and laborious methods of the 
Ezekiel method. When applied to problems 
where the true relationships were known, both 
methods gave the same results. 74 



72 Taylor and Taylor, p. 454. 

73 Ezekiel, M. J. B., A Method of Handling Curvilin- 
ear Correlation for Any Number of Variables. Jour. 
Amer. Statis. Assoc. 1924, 19: 431-53: M. J. B. Ezekiel, 
Methods of Correlation Analysis. New York. 1930. 

"Bean, L. H., Application of a Graphic Method of 
Multiple Curvilinear Correlation. U.S. Dept. Agr. 
(Mimeo.), Washington, 1929; and Bean, L. H., A Sim- 
plified Method of Graphic Curvilinear Correlation and 
Application of a Simplified Method of Correlation to 
Problems of Acreage and Yield Variations, Jour. Amer. 
Statis. Assoc. 24: pp. 386-97, Dec. 1929, and 24: 428- 
39, Dec. 1930. 



The development of the new simplified 
correlation techniques spawned a correlation 
fad in which all sorts of so-called correlation 
studies were made. The logic of a curve was 
at times overlooked so long as a line could be 
drawn to fit the observations. The advantages 
of the new procedure far exceeded the occa- 
sional misuse by the "curve drawer" as some 
of the inexperienced practitioners were called. 

Statisticians of the Division of Crop and 
Livestock Estimates extended their use of the 
dot chart as a means of interpreting the re- 
ported condition figures. The dot chart often 
showed that the relationship between condi- 
tion and final yield was a curve. It was found 
also that the use of dot charts of condition 
and yield with a freehand regression line was 
more useful and required less work than the 
computation of the "pars," which assumed a 
straight line positive relationship, for pro- 
jecting probable yield. 

Investigation also brought to light some 
errors in the basic assumption that high condi- 
tion is directly related to high yield. When the 
condition of wheat in Maryland was plotted 
against final yield, it was found that the rela- 
tionship was negative or the reverse of the 
basic assumptions. Sarle brought this to the 
attention of the State Statistician. Investiga- 
gation showed that this was the result of a 
disease, Septoria Nordorum, particularly on 
certain varieties of wheat, which was pro- 
gressively worse when rainfall and high 
humidity encouraged lush growth. A farmer 
observing a lush stand reported a high condi- 
tion, not recognizing the development of the 
disease before harvest time. The statistician 
developed correlation analysis of rainfall 
and temperature to aid estimates or forecasts 
of Maryland wheat yields during the season. ~ r ' 

Weather and crop yields relationships were 
developed for some other crops, particularly 
early potatoes in the South and apple sizes in 
the Hood River Valley of Oregon. 76 
F. V. Waugh made a study of the effect of 
weather on yield of potatoes in Aroostook 
County, Maine. 



75 Newell, S. R., Factors Affecting the Yield of Wheat 
in Maryland. Master's Dissertation, American Univ., 
1929. (Unpublished.) 

76 Newell, S. R., Factors Affecting the Size of Apples 
in the Hood River Valley of Oregon. U.S. Dept. Agr. 
Mimeograph, 1929. 



The Great Depression 

Farm policy was an issue in the election of 
1928. Arthur M. Hyde, who was appointed 
Secretary of Agriculture by President Hoover 
on March 6, 1929, was from Missouri. He 
graduated from the University of Michigan 
in 1899 and obtained a law degree from the 
University of Iowa in 1900. He practiced 
law, had farm and lumber interests, and 
owned an automobile agency. He was elected 
Governor of Missouri in 1920 where he pro- 
moted improved rural education, provided for 
wider dissemination of technical information 
among farmers, and carried on a vigorous 
road improvement program. 

During the campaign Hyde had supported 
the idea of a Federal Farm Board working 
through cooperative groups, as opposed to 
direct farm relief such as proposed in the 
McNary-Haugen proposals. He embraced the 
hope that general prosperity would, with mini- 
mum help by the Government, lift the farmers 
out of the economic slump that had prevailed 
throughout the twenties. 77 

The Farm Board, President Hoover's an- 
swer to persistent urging for financial relief 
to farmers, was established under the provi- 
sions of the Agricultural Marketing Act 
approved June 15, 1929. The Act went further 
than the Administration wanted to go in 
participation in agricultural affairs but not 
nearly so far as farm organizations would 
have liked. Congress stated that its policy was 
to promote effective merchandising of agri- 
cultural products and thereby place agricul- 
ture on a basis of economic equality with other 
industries. 

Disaster struck in the stock market crash 
of October 29, 1929, which touched off the 
longest and most severe depression the Nation 
ever experienced. The entire economy was 
gravely affected, and agriculture sank close to 
disaster. To add to the woes, floods in the 
South in 1929 were followed by serious 
drought in many areas in 1930. The Drought 
Relief Act, approved on December 20, 1929, 
was one of many emergency measures. In- 
creased appropriations for disaster-type loans 
to farmers were intended for purchase of 



"Century of Service, U.S. Dept. Agr., pp. 130-31. 
1963. 



73 



seed for planting new crops or for feed to 
maintain livestock, but in actual practice some 
of the money went for farm family living ex- 
pense. Farmers were under extreme pressure 
for immediate cash to make payments on 
land, machinery, and livestock. Money was 
increased for Federal-aid roads, and large 
sums were appropriated for providing work 
for the unemployed in construction and im- 
provement of National Forest roads and trails. 
The Secretary noted that nearly all of the in- 
crease in departmental expenditures had re- 
sulted from putting more men to work on the 
roads and making direct loans to farmers 
suffering from drought, flood, and unprece- 
dented economic distress. 

A Federal Drought Relief Committee was 
established, headed by the Secretary, in 1930. 
In addition to recommending loan policies, it 
aided stricken counties to obtain reduced 
railroad rates for shipment of hay, feed, and 
water. In 1931 the Secretary emphasized the 
need for curtailment of acreage and livestock 
breeding through voluntary concerted action. 

Crop and Livestock Estimates in the 
Emergency 

Under these depressed and extreme condi- 
tions, the problems of the Division of 
Crop and Livestock Estimates were multiplied 
manyfold. It became more difficult to obtain 
voluntary reports from farmers in distress. 
Samples required much more independent 
checking to maintain comparability with the 
past. 

At the same time, demand for information 
increased tremendously. Special reports on 
flood or drought damage were immediately 
required. The Washington office and the State 
Statisticians were pressed into extra service. 
Disaster loans were predicated on factual in- 
formation the Division was best able to obtain. 
Arrangements for special freight rates called 
for data on where supplies were needed and 
where they could be obtained. 

Cooperative marketing organizations re- 
quired reliable information on supplies and 
prospective supplies to operate effectively. 
Overall statistics would not suffice because the 
need was for detail by producing areas and 
often by varieties. 



Special outlook reports were issued on a 
number of products. Statisticians of the Divi- 
sion were heavily involved in all of the outlook 
work of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics. Farm labor and wage reports had 
to be supplied and analyzed. Special informa- 
tion was also called for by administrators, 
legislators, and others to develop policy and 
guide action. 

Despite the additional special demands, the 
Division continued to make progress in the 
regular program. During 1930 improved fore- 
casts and estimates were developed for more 
than 20 vegetable crops. Seven statisticians 
were assigned to field investigations on these 
crops. Tentative estimates of farm income by 
States for the 5-year period 1924 to 1928 
covering 78 crops and 14 items of livestock 
and livestock products were completed. 
In 1931 the regular monthly report was ex- 
panded to include milk estimates, and a new 
series of reports on fruit and potato prospects 
was inaugurated. Two special drought surveys 
were made, one in August and another in 
November. 

As usual, the Division cooperated with the 
Bureau of the Census on the 1930 Census 
enumeration but not to the extent of per- 
forming field services as in 1925. Average 
farm prices by counties were prepared for 156 
crop and livestock items for the marketing 
season of 1929 and values of 30 livestock items 
as of April 1930. 

Research Activities Curtailed 

The Division did not have special or ear- 
marked funds for research. All the improve- 
ments that had been developed, particularly 
during the early twenties, had been accom- 
plished by working in special studies between 
the regular reporting programs and not a 
little by the enthusiasm and interest of the en- 
tire staff in the use of considerable amounts 
of "midnight oil." 

There was no 5-day week in those days, and 
with the depression demands for special reports 
and analysis the staff often worked around the 
clock. The result was that little time was left 
to delve into the kind of investigations that 
had resulted in the abandonment of the par 
methods, statistical analysis of the samples, 



74 



studies of weather-crop relations, and many 
other improvements. 

Sarle, who had been relieved of routine work 
on price reports about 1926, had given con- 
siderable attention to the research part of his 
job for several years. He, too, found himself 
drawn into the emergency programs until he 
left in the fall of 1929 for graduate work, after 



which he transferred to the Farm Board in 
October 1930 and thence to the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration. 

This curtailment of research, made necessary 
by the general economic conditions, interrupted 
the momentum that was developing in the 
twenties. This was a loss to the Division that 
was felt for a number of years thereafter. 



75 



PART IV. AN ERA OF TURBULENT EXPANSION, 1930-66 



PROLOGUE 

A period of transition in agricultural 
estimates started with the Agricultural Ajust- 
ment Act, followed by World War II and the 
second agricultural revolution. 

1930 to 1966 

The condition of agriculture continued to 
worsen. Prices received by farmers declined 
following the crash of 1929 and by 1932 had 
plummeted to the lowest level since 1899. In 
1930 the farm price of wheat dropped to 66 
cents a bushel and reached a low of about 29 
cents in 1931 and 1932. Cattle and hog prices 
followed much the same pattern. 

On June 15, 1929, President Hoover approved 
the Agricultural Marketing Act under which 
the Federal Farm Board was established. 
While the Board devoted the major part of its 
efforts to aiding procedures to develop a strong 
cooperative marketing system, it also estab- 
lished stabilization corporations to purchase 
surplus wheat and cotton. In 1932, the Board 
reported on its failure to stabilize prices. The 
conclusion was that no measure of improving 
prices other than increasing the effective de- 
mand of consumers can be successful over a 
period of years unless it provides a more de- 
finite control of production. 78 

In his inaugural address on March 4, 1933, 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt said: "This 
Nation asks for action and action now." The 
first action in the area of agriculture was not 
long in coming. The Agricultural Adjustment 
Act of 1933 was cleared by both Houses of 
Congress on May 12 and approved by the 
President on the same day. 

In his message to Congress on March 16 the 
President had recommended quick action on 
the bill as an experiment on "an untrod path." 
It was a revolutionary development. It changed 



the philosophy of the Department by expand- 
ing the scope of its activities to include 
authority and funds to alleviate distress situa- 
tions in agriculture. 

The active programs that were developed 
had an immediate effect on the crop and live- 
stock estimating work of the Bureau of 
Agricultural Economics. The activities of the 
Crop and Livestock Estimates Division that 
were started and developed as a result of the 
Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 and its 
successor Soil Conservation and Domestic Al- 
lotment Act of 1936 might be said to have 
marked the beginning of a revolution in the 
crop and livestock estimating work. 

World War II started in Europe on 
September 1, 1939. Food demand in Europe 
increased rapidly. The surplus food problem 
vanished and was followed by programs to in- 
crease production. The Lend-Lease Act was ap- 
proved March 11, 1941. Production goals were 
promulgated in 1941 and the Steagall Amend- 
ment was passed to provide price supports for 
nonbasic crops. The United States entered the 
war after the Pearl Harbor attack on 
December 7. 

Farm production reached a new high in 1942 
and was maintained at close to that record 
during the war years. This was accomplished 
in spite of a shrinking labor supply and dif- 
ficulty of obtaining machinery and farm 
materials. Factors that contributed to this ac- 
complishment were widespread progress in 
mechanization, greater use of lime, fertilizer, 
cover crops and other conservation practices, 
use of new and improved varieties, and control 
of insects and diseases. Along with the war- 
time need for food and the doubling of prices 
received by farmers for their products, these 
factors provided the driving force for increas- 
ing production and revolutionized agricultural 
practices. 79 



78 Rasmussen, Wayne D. Readings in the History of 
American Agriculture, pp. 253-254. 



' Ibid., p. 275. 



76 



Following the war, farm population con- 
tinued to decline. Between 1950 and 1965, farm 
population declined from 25,058,000 to 12,400,- 
000. In the same period the number of farms 
declined, partly as a result of increasing urban 
growth, but more from the combination of 
farm units. The larger farms were able to 
utilize the expensive new farm machinery more 
economically to meet the need for lower unit 
costs of production. 

Specialized farming increased and vertical 
integration of the operations of production, 
processing, and marketing were changing the 
pattern in many agricultural enterprises. 

The role of Government in agriculture was 
altered to deal with critical issues arising from 
each successive development. Unprecedented 
demands for data accompanied the new Gov- 
ernment programs. 

CHAPTER 8. A NEW ERA STARTS WITH 
HENRY A. WALLACE 

A bleak, desperate situation confronted 
Henry A. Wallace as he became the 11th 
Secretary of Agriculture on March 4, 1933. 
Like his father, the seventh Secretary of 
Agriculture, and his grandfather, he had 
gained nationwide attention through his edi- 
torials in "Wallace's Farmer." He was also 
nationally known as an agricultural economist 
and a corn breeder. His hybrid corn grown on 
his farm had won the Iowa corn tests. He had 
played a part in the McNary-Haugen farm re- 
lief movement, and he had also used his voice 
and pen to urge Gov 3 nment action to help 
farmers obtain equalny of bargaining power. 
In his writings, he spoke of complex causes 
such as America's position as a creditor nation 
and the relative fluctuations in farm prices as 
compared with prices for industrial products. 
He also wrote of the need for balanced produc- 
tion, the ever-normal granary, stabilization of 
the purchasing power of the dollar by varying 
the gold content, and better utilization of 
land — all to the end of securing equality for 
agriculture. 80 

The Agricultural Adjustment Act 

Secretary Wallace believed that the farm 
crisis called for immediate legislative action. 
On March 8, 1933, he and Rexford Tugwell, 



80 A Century of Service, pp. 143-144. 



the new Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, 
urged the President to ask Congress for action 
at the special session called for March 9. 
President Roosevelt agreed and directed the 
Secretary to call a conference of farm leaders. 
Representatives of the American Farm Bureau, 
the National Farmers Union, and the National 
Grange were among the 50 farm leaders that 
appeared in Washington for the conference on 
March 10. Agreement was reached and a com- 
mittee from the group called on the President 
on March 11, proposing that broad emergency 
powers be recommended to Congress. 

President Roosevelt directed the Department 
to draw up the legislation. This was quickly 
accomplished and on March 16 the proposed 
legislation was forwarded by the President to 
Congress with the recommendation that quick 
action be taken. The act cleared both Houses 
and was signed by the President May 12. 

The emergency nature of the situation and 
the variety of the proposed solutions are in- 
dicated by the fact that the Emergency Farm 
Mortgage Act of 1933 and an act authorizing 
the President to inflate the currency were 
added as Title II and Title III of the Agricul- 
tural Adjustment Act. 

To restore prices of agricultural commodities 
to the 1910-14 level, the Secretary of Agricul- 
ture was authorized to secure voluntary 
reduction of the acreage of basic crops through 
agreements with producers and through direct 
payments for participation in acreage control 
programs; to regulate marketing through 
voluntary agreements among processors and 
distributors; to license processors, associations 
of producers, and others handling agricul- 
tural commodities to eliminate unfair practices 
and charges; to determine the necessity for 
and the rate of processing taxes; and to use 
the proceeds of taxes and appropriated funds 
for the cost of adjustment operations, for the 
expansion of markets, and for the removal of 
agricultural surpluses. Wheat, cotton, field 
corn, hogs, rice, tobacco, and milk and its pro- 
ducts were designated as basic commodities. 
The list was expanded by the Jones-Connally 
Act of April 7, 1934, to include rye, flax, barley, 
grain sorghum, cattle, and peanuts. On May 9, 
1934, the list was expanded to include sugar- 
beets and sugarcane, and on August 4, 1935, 
potatoes were added. 



77 



Despite some reluctance on the part of 
George N. Peek, the first administrator of the 
act, and of coadministrator Charles J. Brand, 
who favored marketing agreements and diver- 
sion of surpluses to export or other uses as 
the best method, Secretary Wallace and 
President Roosevelt chose production control 
as the major method to be used in raising 
prices. Chester Davis, who headed the Division 
of Production under Peek and who later suc- 
ceeded him as Administrator, and M. L. Wilson, 
head of the Wheat Section, agreed with 
Wallace on the decision to follow the produc- 
tion control route. 81 

There was turmoil in the Department in de- 
ciding what procedures could be put into 
operation most rapidly. Everyone recognized 
that the official acreage and livestock numbers 
collected by the Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates would be at the base of any allotment 
program. That they would be scrutinized as 
never before was a certainty. There was 
serious discussion of the desirability of rushing 
through a special agricultural census to precede 
the actual allotment of acreage for each crop. 
The idea was dropped, however, because it was 
evident that a census would require too much 
time to meet the pressing need for prompt 
action. Consideration was also given to assign- 
ing the acreage allotment work to the Division 
of Crop and Livestock Estimates. It was a 
tempting idea to some of the administrators 
because here was a readymade technical staff 
with a well-trained field organization that 
could be put into action immediately. More de- 
liberate consideration brought out the danger 
of taking what appeared to be the quick, easy 
way of meeting the emergency. Callander, 
Head of the Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates, pointed out that dependable, un- 
biased statistics were needed to guide policy 
decisions and to serve as a basis for operations. 

Most members of the staff were relieved when 
the Division was not assigned responsibility for 
the administration of the Agricultural Adjust- 
ment Act. This did not mean they were not 
involved, however. The entire Washington staff, 
plus some statisticians brought in from the field, 
literally went on a round-the-clock schedule. 
One immediate job that loomed large was how 
to handle millions of agreements or contracts 



Ibid., pp. 145-147. 



that would be sent in by the farmers. Where 
to put the large clerical force that would be 
required, how to instruct this large group of 
inexperienced clerks, and how to process the 
contracts and finally issue benefit checks were 
burning questions. 

The Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates with the help of the administrative 
office of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics 
went to work. Stack space that had been built 
for the library in the still unfinished South 
Building was taken over. Punchcard equipment 
was commandeered from all sources. Mean- 
while, contract forms were being designed and 
duplicated, instructions were being prepared, 
clerks were being hired, experienced people 
were called in from wherever they could be 
found. In all of this the Head of the Division, 
the Assistant Head, and technical staff took 
the lead. Machine tabulation arrangements 
were completed, and operations started. 

Appropriated Funds Cut 

As the workload of the Division was ex- 
panding, appropriated funds took a sharp drop 
from about $804,000 in 1932 to slightly more 
than $700,000 in 1934. A drastic reduction of 
personnel was threatened. When the Head of 
the Division and the Chief of the Bureau of 
Agricultural Economics brought the serious 
situation to the attention of the Department, 
an allotment of money from the President's 
emergency funds was immediately arranged. 
In 1934, the allotment amounted to about 
$750,000. This relieved the situation and per- 
mitted the Division to provide the additional 
services required under the adjustment pro- 
gram. 

A number of staff members in Washington 
and the field were assigned to work as special 
consultants to various program sections in the 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration. Sev- 
eral former statisticians returned to work on 
particular programs. Logan Shutz, a former 
statistician for Texas, worked with the Cotton 
Division ; C. F. Sarle worked with the corn-hog 
program ; and E. C. Paxton, former statistician 
for Kansas, and more recently Agricultural 
Attache in Australia, worked with the Wheat 
Division. S. R. Newell was assigned as a 
Special Assistant with the General Crops 



78 



Section for work on marketing agreements for 
citrus fruits. For this work, a complete count 
of tree numbers was made to provide a basis 
for improving the regular estimates for this 
crop. These men were all officially on the rolls 
of the AAA, but worked closely with the Crop 
and Livestock Estimates Division. 

Farm Prices Index S3 

One of the most important activities at the 
time was the work on farm prices. The Agri- 
cultural Adjustment Act of 1933 set up the 
objective of restoring prices to farmers at a 
level that would give agricultural products the 
same purchasing power they had in the base 
period. The base period for most crops was 
August 1909 to July 1914. 

Data on prices received by farmers had been 
collected since 1866, the first published attempt 
at an index number of prices received by farm- 
ers was in 1910 and included 10 crops. Through 
the years this index has been changed in scope 
and method of computation. 

An annual inquiry on prices of 74 items 
bought by farmers was begun in 1910. The 
Bureau of Agricultural Economics first pub- 
lished an index of prices paid in 1928. This 
was used to measure the purchasing power 
of farmers. Attention was focused on these 
series as the concept of parity price was legally 
formalized. 

The significance of both index numbers was 
greatly increased with the passage of the Agri- 
cultural Adjustment Act. The Division imme- 
diately undertook a careful review of the series 
to bring them up to date with the latest infor- 
mation available and adapt them to better meet 
the contemplated requirements. 

The index of prices paid received first atten- 
tion. It was revised in 1933 at which time 
budget weights used in combining the sub- 
groups were shifted to averages for the period 
1924-29. The report in which this revision was 
published pointed out that considerable addi- 
tional information regarding farmers' purchas- 
es had become available since the initial publi- 
cation in 1928. Changes in the revised index re- 
sulted from the addition of a few new 



63 For a detailed discussion of the price indexes, see 
Stauber, B. Ralph, Koffsky, N., and Randall, C. Kyle. 
The Revised Price Indexes. Agr. Econ. Res. 11(2): 33- 
62, Apr. 1950 (Revised Price Indexes), published by 
U.S. Dept. Agr., Bur. Agr. Econ. 



commodities, revised weights in a few instances, 
and additional prices for some commodities 
extrapolated for years before 1927. Interest 
and taxes were introduced into the index of 
prices paid in August 1935. An amendment to 
the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 
provided that purchasing power should reflect 
interest payments per acre on indebtedness 
secured by real estate and tax payment per 
acre on farm real estate. 

The index numbers of prices received by 
farmers were revised in 1934. The principal 
changes were (1) the use of improved price 
series for dairy products and tobacco, (2) the 
addition of prices of 20 products including a 
group of truck crops, and (3) a shift in 
weights from marketings during 1918-23 to 
those of 1924-29. 

While development of index numbers was 
the responsibility of the Division of Statistical 
and Historical Research of the Bureau of Agri- 
cultural Economics under the direction of 
O. C. Stine, the collection of information, com- 
putation of prices, and preparation and publica- 
tion of reports was the responsibility of the 
Farm Price Section of the Division of Crop and 
Livestock Estimates. Both divisions were under 
extraordinary pressure in 1933. 

Acreage Allotments " ' 

The emphasis on production adjustment 
placed a heavy responsibility on the crop and 
livestock estimating organization. This is well 
illustrated in the cotton program of 1933, under 
which farmers agreed to plow up before har- 
vest 25 to 50 percent of their cotton acreage. 
The objective was to eliminate 10 million acres, 
or about one-fourth of the growing crop. Under 
the second series of contracts signed early in 
1934, farmers agreed to plant between 55 and 
65 percent of their base acreage which was 
defined as the average planted acreage for 1928- 
1932. The Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates was asked to supply county estimates 
of acreage and yield in the base period and in 
the current year as the basis for county quotas 
and for appraising the validity of the aggre- 
gates of the contracts submitted by the 
growers. 

The sharp decline in the winter wheat pro- 
spects due to weather saved the wheat farmer 



A Century of Service, pp. 148-154. 



79 



from a plowup campaign similar to that 
adopted for cotton. A formal proclamation on 
the wheat program was issued on June 20, 1933. 
Adjustment payments of around 30 cents per 
bushel were made for the crop years 1933, 1934, 
and 1935 on 54 percent of the average amount 
of wheat produced on the growers' farms 
during 1928-32. In return, the wheat farmer 
agreed to reduce his wheat acreage for 1934 
and 1935 by a percentage to be determined by 
the Secretary, but not to exceed 20 percent. 
The cut in wheat acreage required under the 
contract was 15 percent for 1934 and 10 percent 
for 1935. Reduction in wheat stocks resulting 
from the drought of 1933 and 1934 made it 
possible to avoid large cuts like those imposed 
for cotton. Again, this required county esti- 
mates of acreage and yield. 

Production controls for tobacco were dis- 
tinguished from controls for other commodities 
by the use of different base years. The period 
August 1919 to July 1929 was the base for 
determining the parity price goal and for acre- 
age and quantity control. Another distinguish- 
ing feature of the program for tobacco was the 
use of marketing agreements in 1933 to raise 
the price of several kinds of tobacco in antici- 
pation of the price-increasing effect of con- 
trolled production. County estimates of acreage 
and yield by types of tobacco were called for. 

The corn-hog program was the last of the 
major adjustment programs to be launched. 
The critical situation facing producers had to 
be balanced against the need for two separate 
but closely interrelated commodities. 

By July 1933 the reduced prospects for corn 
due to unfavorable weather had resulted in the 
decision that corn producers not be requested 
to join in a plowup campaign similar to that 
applied to cotton. However, since the short 
1933 corn crop would not bring about de- 
creased hog production until 1934-35, atten- 
tion was directed to finding a solution for the 
heavy supplies of hogs expected to be marketed 
during the winter of 1933-34. A large increase 
in breeding had been stimulated by the cheap 
corn of the preceding year. The decision was 
to purchase and slaughter about 4 million pigs 
weighing under 100 pounds and approximately 
1 million sows about to farrow. 

The hog slaughter and corn loan programs 
were regarded as emergency measures. The 



general corn-hog adjustment program was 
announced by the Secretary on October 17, 
1933. But the general signup campaign did not 
get underway until late January 1934. Partic- 
ipation in the program required growers to cut 
their corn acreage 20 to 30 percent below the 
average acreage planted in 1932 and 1933. 
Growers were also required to reduce the num- 
ber of hogs produced for market by at least 
25 percent. The provisions on corn were later 
modified to adjust to the drought emergency. 
The contracts for 1935 required 10-percent re- 
ductions in corn acreage and hog production. 
County estimates for corn and hogs had to be 
developed by the crop and livestock estimating 
organization. 

The needs for detailed data on acreage and 
yield estimates, livestock numbers, prices re- 
ceived for commodities sold, and prices paid 
for commodities bought added substantially to 
the workload of the crop and livestock 
statisticians. 

Personnel Expansion— "Corn-Hog Juniors" 

In 1934 and 1935 the farmers submitted 
their contracts to the county agent's office. 
The State Statisticians were responsible for 
establishing the county quotas, planning and 
conducting the tabulation carried on in the 
county agent's office, and supervising the ad- 
justments necessary to come within the quotas. 

This sudden expansion of responsibilities 
called for a fast buildup of staff, particularly 
in the field offices. Beginning in the fall of 1933 
and through 1935, the Civil Service register 
was quickly exhausted with the hiring of some 
90 junior agricultural statisticians. This was 
the largest number of statisticians hired in any 
comparable period in the history of the organ- 
ization and probably the largest number in any 
similar period since that time. Because it was 
so unusual and because the corn-hog program 
was the most pressing job at that particular 
time, the term "corn-hog juniors" was applied 
to the entire group of new recruits. 

Up to 1934, the practice had been to assign 
a new junior statistician to a field office where 
he was trained in all operations from the mail- 
ing of schedules to editing the returns, tabulat- 
ing and computing, and on to the preparation 
of the report. Generally this training continued 
for about a year before the employee was con- 



80 



sidered ready to make independent field trips, 
observe crops, interview farmers and business 
men, and handle other similar jobs independ- 
ently. 

With the fast moving action programs 
inaugurated under the Agricultural Adjustment 
Act, it was apparent that steps had to be taken 
to train the large group of new employees to 
assume operational responsibilities more 
quickly. The State Statisticians, and many of 
their assistants, had been through the in- 
service training classes during the 1920's and 
were therefore better equipped to give the 
young men training in technical aspects of the 
work. To coordinate their efforts, the Washing- 
ton office provided a series of four field 
memoranda that amounted to a brief correspon- 
dence course in statistical methods used in the 
service. 85 These memoranda served the imme- 
diate needs but continued to be used for a 
number of years by State statisticians for in- 
doctrinating new employees. The junior 
statisticians moved into action very quickly 
by accepting a considerable part of the work- 
load involved in determining quotas and re- 
viewing and adjusting the county allotments. 
After the Agricultural Adjustment Administra- 
tion set up its own State and county organiza- 
tion in 1936, the agricultural statisticians were 
relieved of much of the time-consuming 
negotiations but they continued to act in an 
advisory capacity to the State and county 
units. 

After more than 30 years the name "corn- 
hog juniors" is still used with some pride by 
many of the men who remained in the 
organization. On the whole it was a rather 
outstanding group. Some were enticed away by 
attractive commercial offers, some hold import- 
ant positions in other Government agencies but 
a goodly number advanced to highly responsible 
positions in the Statistical Reporting Service. 

The Dust Bowl 

In 1934, the woes of the crop statisticians 
were compounded with the beginning of the 
most severe and prolonged drought of modern 



85 Newell, S. R. Field Memorandum— CEM148— Sta- 
tistical Methods for New Appointees. Mimeographed in 
4 parts. Files of the Statistical Reporting Service, Jan. 
1934. 



times. The area affected covered the Corn Belt 
and southern Great Plains. The first of 
numerous devastating duststorms blew up in 
the "Dust Bowl" in early May. A great exodus 
of farm people from the most affected areas 
followed. 

Yield and production of hay dropped to 
the lowest point on record, starting with 1900. 
Pasture and range conditions, too, reached new 
lows. The yield of corn of 15.7 bushels per 
acre was the lowest in the record dating back 
to 1866. Conditions improved somewhat in 
1935, but 1936 was almost a duplicate of 1934. 
Such conditions had never been seen before nor 
since. The situation in 1936 was in some ways 
more serious mostly because effects of the 
earlier period were cumulative. President 
Roosevelt appointed an Interdepartmental 
Great Plains Drought Area Committee on July 
22, 1936. 

In large areas crops were wiped out. There 
remained the problem of saving as much live- 
stock as possible. Relief loans mounted, 
emergency field programs had to be imple- 
mented — to say nothing of coping with great 
social problems evolving many sections. 

Urgent requests for data confronted the crop 
and livestock reporting service. How much feed 
was available and where? How many cattle 
and hogs were involved? Could they be moved, 
and to where? What was the progress of the 
drought? These were only a few of the ques- 
tions put to the Division. 

The urgency was such that a month was too 
long to wait for regular crop reports. Semi- 
monthly and even weekly reports were called 
for. Special stocks reports giving the supply of 
feed grains by position were released. Reports 
on special conditions not only for the stricken 
areas but for other areas were required to pro- 
vide information on where livestock were suf- 
fering and where they might be shipped. These 
reports had to give a great deal of informa- 
tion by areas within the States, mostly by 
counties. Inventories of livestock, too, had to 
be pinpointed by counties or groups of counties. 
Those in the Department who were arranging 
for special freight rates had to have this kind 
of information to make arrangements with the 
railroads involved. 

Some State statisticians were assigned to 
work with the drought committees in the 



81 



States. The regional livestock statisticians, 
Fred Bier in Colorado and George Scott in 
California, together with C. L. Harlan, in 
charge of the Livestock Section in the Wash- 
ington headquarters office, gave a considerable 
part of their time to the drought program. 

This difficult period finally abated in 1937 
but scars remained for a long time. The Great 
Plains Drought Committee was continued as 
the Great Plains Committee. The State stat- 
isticians and the regional livestock statisticians 
continued to work closely with the committee 
that in a number of ways supplemented the 
program of the crop and livestock reporting 
service. 

The Agricultural Adjustment Act Declared Un- 
constitutional 

The Agricultural Adjustment Act was de- 
clared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court 
in the Hoosac Mills case on January 6, 1936. 
The Department had been alerted to the pos- 
sibility of an unfavorable decision by the in- 
validation of the National Industrial Recovery 
Act on May 27, 1935, and had worked on a 
variety of plans which could be presented to 
Congress. The Secretary felt a new approach 
satisfactory to the Court's constitutional in- 
terpretation had to be found before the spring 
planting season. 

On the same day as the Court's decision, 
Secretary Wallace called a meeting of farm 
leaders to advise the Department. Seventy farm 
leaders met in Washington on January 10 and 
11. The Program Planning Division of the 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration had 
recommended that soil conservation be adopted 
as a major objective of the adjustment pro- 
gram. 

Representatives attending the conference 
reached unanimous agreement on recommend- 
ing legislation to provide for rental and with- 
drawal from commercial crop production of 
the land necessary to promote soil conserva- 
tion, and bring about a profitable balance of 
domestic production with effective demand. 
Other recommendations included the mainte- 
nance of valid parts of the Agricultural Ad- 
justment Act, particularly those parts author- 
izing marketing agreements and orders and 
Section 32 authorizing the use of 30 percent 
of the customs receipts for surplus removal. 



Congress adopted the soil conservation and 
good farm management approach to the farm 
problem in the Soil Conservation and Domes- 
tic Allotment Act. This act, passed as an 
amendment to the April 27, 1935, legislation 
on soil erosion control, was approved on Feb- 
ruary 29, 1936, just 54 days after the invalida- 
tion of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. 86 

From the standpoint of the work of the Crop 
and Livestock Estimates Division, the whole 
episode amounted to a brief interlude in the 
activities with the Agricultural Adjustment 
Administration. The immediate result, which 
required hasty adjustments in program and 
personnel, was the reduction of around $200,- 
000 in the emergency funds allotted for the 
work. The drought of 1936 was still making 
extraordinary demands for the statistical serv- 
ices, and the new adjustment program rapidly 
built up to even greater demand for special 
services. 

Adjustment Programs and Crop Reports 

The acreage allotment plan and later the 
soil conservation program gave rise to fre- 
quent questions as to why the crop and live- 
stock reporting service could not simply tabu- 
late the allotments or summarize the acreage 
adjustments to determine the acreage of the 
various crops. This sounded easy but in prac- 
tice such a process would be far too slow to 
meet the requirements of a timely reporting 
service. Furthermore, all farmers did not 
participate in the program and many that did 
would not always plant up to the allotment. 
State and local offices operating the adjust- 
ment program made the information available 
to the State statistician as it became available, 
and it was very useful as collateral check in- 
formation. Compliance checks were slow and 
not always fully dependable. In several in- 
stances the State statisticians were asked to 
make special area surveys to check on com- 
pliance. 

Control or adjustment programs introduced 
new difficulties with voluntary crop reporting. 
Individual biases were subject to change when 
it became known that the official estimate 
served as the basis for amending acreage allot- 
ments. Then, too, a farmer who puts his entire 
farm into, say, a soil conserving program had 



86 A Century of Service, pp. 166-67. 



82 



a tendency to stop reporting, thinking it not 
important since he was not producing com- 
mercial crops. Problems such as these tended 
to accentuate the need for more objective 
methods for estimating acreage and yield or 
estimating numbers of livestock. 

The crop and livestock work, since its begin- 
ning, has been built as a cooperative under- 
taking with the farmer and other reporters. It 
has been emphasized to respondents that their 
reports are used only by technicians in the 
service in combination with other reports for 
estimating purposes. In fact, no figures have 
ever been released or published that would dis- 
close any individual's operation. For this rea- 
son, experience has shown that the cooper- 
ative crop and livestock reporters by and large 
report accurately. 

The wisdom of the decision, previously 
noted, to take every precaution to keep the 
crop and livestock estimating function inde- 
pendent of any regulatory or administrative 
responsibility for the production control pro- 
grams has been repeatedly demonstrated. To 
preserve and further the confidence between 
the reporter and the service, the heads of the 
division have always resisted any suggestion 
that there be a Federal law requiring the re- 
spondent to report or requiring that a field 
statistician or his assistants be allowed ac- 
cess to a farm or place of business. 

Leadership Changes 

Joseph A. Becker became Head of the Divi- 
sion and Chairman of the Crop Reporting 
Board in August 1935 when Callander re- 
signed to become Assistant Administrator and 
Comptroller of the Agricultural Adjustment 
Administration. Becker had been the principal 
statistician for the Division, taking over the 
work Nat C. Murray had carried during the 
time Estabrook had been the Chief of the old 
Bureau of Crop Estimates from 1914 to 1922. 
Becker took the leadership in adapting the 
work of the Division to the extraordinary re- 
sponsibilities falling on the Division from the 
beginning of the depression in 1929, through 
the drought of 1930, and the period immedi- 
ately following the passage of the Agricul- 
tural Adjustment Act in 1933 when the Divi- 
sion was called upon to assist in setting up 
methods and procedures for administration of 
the Act. 



On January 1, 1936, D. A. McCandliss, who 
was Agricultural Statistician for Mississippi, 
was transferred to Washington as Assistant 
Head of the Division of Crop and Livestock 
Estimates. McCandliss did not really want to 
stay in Washington, and on March 1, 1937, a 
personnel action was processed to transfer 
him back to the position of Statistician in 
Charge in Mississippi. Before this action be- 
came effective doctors ordered Becker to take 
an extended period of sick leave to regain his 
health. 

Callander was recalled from the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration to resume the posi- 
tion as Head of the Crop and Livestock Esti- 
mates Division and Chairman of the Crop 
Reporting Board on May 1, 1937. McCandliss 
remained as Assistant Head of the Division 
until March 16, 1938. On April 27, 1938, 
Becker was restored to the rolls as technical 
assistant, and on May 1 of that year Paul L. 
Koenig, who had left the Division in July 1935 
to become Executive Assistant to the Director 
of the Land Utilization Program of the Re- 
settlement Administration, returned to the 
Division as Administrative Assistant to the 
Head of the Division. 87 

The First Agricultural Marketing Service Es- 
tablished 

By 1938 the Bureau of Agricultural Econom- 
ics had grown to 20 program divisions and 
three special sections. The Assistant Chief for 
Marketing and Regulatory work had primary 
responsibility for nine commodity divisions 
and the Cold Storage reports section. 
The Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates, 
a functional division, was considered as a staff 
division of the Bureau, but viewed opera- 
tionally as a marketing service, it was linked 
closely with the Assistant Chief. 

By Secretary's Memorandum 783, dated Oc- 
tober 6, 1938, the Division of Crop and Live- 
stock Estimates and the marketing and 
regulatory work were transferred to a new 
organization called the Agricultural Marketing 
Service, and C. W. Kitchen, who had been the 
Assistant Chief of BAE in charge of this work, 
was appointed chief of the new service. 

With the transfer of the Division of Crop 
and Livestock Estimates to the Agricultural 

87 Personnel records of the Statistical Reporting Ser- 
vice. 



83 



Marketing Service, the name of the division 
was changed to the Agricultural Statistics 
Division. Responsibility for seed statistics was 
transferred to the Statistics Division from the 
Hay, Feed, and Seed Division. Statistics on 
hatchery production, fluid milk, and manufac- 
tured dairy products were also transferred 
from the Dairy and Poultry Products Division 
and the Cold Storage Reports Section 
(formerly attached to the office of the Assist- 
ant Chief of the BAE) to the Agricultural 
Statistics Division. 

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation 
was established in 1938. To ascertain insur- 
ance rates, an added demand arose for county 
statistics on acreage and yield per acre of crops 
to be covered by insurance. Data provided for 
the soil conservation program were utilized as 
far as available, but information for additional 
crops and areas had to be developed. The 
Corporation provided funds for the additional 
work involved. 

Wickard Appointed Secretary of Agriculture 

Henry A. Wallace resigned as Secretary of 
Agriculture on September 4, 1940, to run as 
candidate for Vice President. On September 5, 
1940, Claude R. Wickard was appointed 
Secretary. 

Secretary Wickard graduated in animal 
husbandry at Purdue University, returned to 
farming, and was selected as a master farmer 
in 1927. He was elected to the Indiana State 
Senate in 1932 where he gained the respect of 
the State agricultural leaders for his sincerity 
and determination in fighting for constructive 
and progressive legislation. He was selected to 
represent Indiana on the National Corn-Hog 
Committee of Twenty-five, the group that 
helped set up the original corn-hog program 
of the Agricultural Adjustment Administra- 
tion. Wickard went to Washington to 
implement the recommendations of the Com- 
mittee and in 1935 became Chief of the Corn- 
Hog Section. 

When the Agricultural Adjustment Admin- 
istration's agricultural conservation program 
started in 1936, he became Assistant Director 
and then Director of the North Central Divi- 
sion. On March 1, 1940, he was appointed 
Under Secretary of Agriculture. In his 6 years 
with the Department, Wickard had proved 
himself a capable protagonist of the Adminis- 



tration's farm program and a popular spokes- 
man for the Midwest. His appointment as 
Secretary met with congressional and public 
approval. 88 

Wickard was to face a most difficult period 
for the Department and the Nation. About 14 
months after his appointment the attack on 
Pearl Harbor signaled the actual entry of the 
United States into World War II. He had al- 
ready called for the development of war pro- 
duction goals and soon after made famous his 
slogan, "Food will win the war and write the 
peace." 

Statistical Research 

In the beginning of the crop estimating pro- 
gram the principal source of data was volun- 
tary mail reporting by farmers. This was the 
cheapest method for collecting a large volume 
of statistics, but inherent weaknesses were 
recognized. Through the years refinements 
were introduced, collateral check information 
was developed, supplementary surveys were 
added, and with improved analytical techniques 
remarkably accurate estimates of production of 
crops and numbers of livestock were provided. 
The system was still dependent upon periodic 
benchmarks, census enumerations, and the 
skill of the agricultural statistician in project- 
ing basic trends during the intercensal years. 
The samples with which he worked were 
biased, did not meet the requirements neces- 
sary for sophisticated statistical analysis, nor 
could they provide a reliable basis for esti- 
mating some of the changes taking place in 
the fundamental patterns in agricultural pro- 
duction. The mail sample could not provide 
reliable information on number of farms, size 
of farms, or total land in farms, yet these 
were basic factors needed in analyzing the 
current samples and projecting the trend be- 
tween the census periods. 

The subject of research into methods of 
improving the estimates, sometimes a little 
dormant in the rush of meeting the current 
program but always viable, sprouted quickly, 
particularly when touched with the sunshine 
of a bright idea, or most potent of all, a few 
extra dollars. During the early days of the 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the 
urge for methodological research began to stir 
vigorously. That program pointed up dramat- 



1 A Century of Service, pp. 273-74. 



84 



ically the vital role of accurate statistics in 
developing agricultural policy and administer- 
ing the so-called action programs. Then, too, 
in the operation of the programs considerable 
material that could be used in studying sampl- 
ing techniques began to become available. At 
the top level Secretary Henry A. Wallace 
understood and was sympathetic to the pro- 
blems of the crop estimators. W. F. Callander, 
Head of the Division, was always a strong 
advocate of research, and from time to time 
had managed to squeeze out a few dollars for 
research. Joseph A. Becker, Assistant Head of 
the Division, developed many techniques to 
strengthen the work and seized any oppor- 
tunity to advance research. 

In 1934, Callander succeeded in getting 
C. F. Sarle, who was then with the AAA, 
transferred back to the Division. Sarle re- 
turned in November 1934. His job was to be 
in charge of fundamental research in statis- 
tical methodology. 

At about this time another development 
that was to have a profound effect on the re- 
search and development of the statistical work 
in the Division was taking shape at Iowa 
State College at Ames, Iowa. In 1933, the 
College had set up a Statistical Laboratory 
with Professor George W. Snedecor as Direc- 
tor. One of its functions was to coordinate 
all teaching activities in statistics. It was 
developed, however, as a research, consulting, 
and service organization that was available to 
outside agencies for research on statistical 
problems. 59 

The Bankhead-Jones Act, providing for ex- 
pansion of research on basic problems con- 
fronting agriculture, was approved June 29, 
1935. The possibility of securing some of these 
special research funds to study the basic statis- 
tical problems involved in agricultural estimat- 
ing was discussed with James Jardine 
(brother of a former Secretary of Agricul- 
ture), who was charged with the administra- 
tion of the act. He agreed that such research 
was appropriate and expressed interest in 
agricultural estimates problems. 

Meanwhile, there had been a resurgence of 
interest in the Crop and Livestock Estimates 
Division in the possibility of an annual sample 



""Statlab. Rev. II, Aug. 1957— Statis. Lab. of Iowa 
State Col., Ames, Iowa. 



survey of factors available only from the 
census and studies of weather influence on 
crop yields. Sarle pushed both of these ideas 
when he returned as did other members of the 
staff — notably Becker, who was appointed 
Head of the Division in August 1935, and 
John B. Shepard. Technicians in the Bureau 
of the Census were also drawn into the dis- 
cussions of the sample idea. Consideration of 
this plan immediately raised the problem of 
the design of the sample for making an ade- 
quate survey. Legislation to implement such 
surveys was proposed on several occasions but 
congressional approval was never forthcoming. 
Nevertheless, with the great interest that was 
developing in probability sampling, in both 
the Government and private agencies, agricul- 
tural statisticians realized that the demands 
for more and more accurate statistics required 
the sharpening of the sampling tools. 

During 1936, conferences were held between 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Iowa 
State College relative to the research needed 
for the advancement of the agricultural esti- 
mates statistical program. With the active 
support of Secretary Henry A. Wallace, W. F. 
Callander, and Charles F. Sarle, together with 
George W. Snedecor, T. W. Schultz, and others 
of the Iowa State College, an allotment of 
special research funds for agricultural esti- 
mates was obtained in 1938 to implement coop- 
erative work with the Statistical Laboratory 
at Ames for research on fundamental statis- 
tical problems of interest to agriculture. 

The research program with the laboratory 
covered a wide range of statistical activity. A 
number of studies were made on the effect of 
weather on crop yields. One of the earliest of 
this type was a study of the "effect of the 
amount and distribution of rainfall and evap- 
oration during the growing season on the 
yields of corn and wheat." Another was a 
study of "climatological measurements for use 
in prediction of corn yields." The problem of 
yield forecasts was particularly pressing at 
the time, and these studies were designed es- 
pecially to aid the Division in its operating 
program. 

Other studies were related to immediate 
service needs. One in particular was "an ex- 
periment in preharvest sampling of wheat 
fields." The immediate problem came from 
complaints of wheat growers with the way the 



85 



so-called "protein premium" was applied in 
marketing wheat. S. R. Newell, who was then 
Assistant to the Chief of the Agricultural 
Marketing Service, had discussed the problem 
with growers and the trade. Their proposal 
was to get preharvest estimates of the quality 
of wheat by areas as a basis for determining 
the amount of premium that should be paid in 
any given year. The problem was referred to 
the agricultural statisticians. The Laboratory 
designed a sample to implement the service. 
The service was provided for 2 years for the 
winter wheat area and continued in Kansas 
for 1 or 2 years more. These activities were 
consonant with the long-time objective of the 
Division to get objective measures of acreage 
and yield per acre. A. J. King from the 
Laboratory and Miles McPeek from the grain 
statistics section conducted the research. 

Cooperative research studies conducted by 
the Laboratory also involved area sampling. 
Questions of sampling design, components of 
sampling error, and components of cost were 
thoroughly investigated. 90 

In 1938 a project was set up in New York 
City, under the Works Progress Administration 
(WPA), and a large force of clerks was 
assigned to study and experiment with area 
sampling techniques based on the aerial maps 
provided by the Agricultural Adjustment Ad- 
ministration. This project, directed by Glenn 
D. Simpson until 1940, led to an article in the 
Journal of Farm Economics entitled "New 
Developments in Agricultural Sampling" by 
A. J. King and G. D. Simpson. 91 A number of 
other studies by Snedecor, Jessen, Strand, 
King, Houseman, and others dealt with the 
suitability of various political and geographic 
subdivisions such as counties, townships, and 
sections as sampling units. These were fore- 
runners of the "Master Sample" which was 
one of the most significant achievements of the 
cooperative program with the Laboratory. 

The Master Sample is Developed 

During the war as manpower became more 
and more limited, the assignment of Crop and 

90 Jessen, Raymond J. Statistical Investigations of a 
Sample Survey of Obtaining Farm Facts. Iowa State 
Univ. Res. Bui. 304, June 1942. 

91 King, A. J., and Simpson, G. D. New Development 
in Agricultural Sampling. Jour. Farm Econ. 22(1) : 
341-49, Feb. 1940. 



Livestock Estimates personnel to the Ames 
Laboratory was reduced, but the interest in 
area sampling continued to increase. Rensis 
Likert, Head of the Division of Special Sur- 
veys, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, was 
working on a group of Bureau-wide projects. 
It became apparent that there was need for a 
procedure to provide effective samples for 
various studies; particularly, for accumulation 
of data relating to a representative group of 
farms. It occurred to Likert that by designing 
a large sample, from which subsamples could 
be drawn and the data systematically accumu- 
lated, many important interrelationships af- 
fecting farm production, income, and living 
could be analyzed. 

In April 1943 Likert discussed the idea with 
the Laboratory, and it was agreed that the 
Laboratory would provide a national sample of, 
about 5,000 farms to which the name "Master 
Sample" was applied. As a greatly increased 
demand for this type of sampling became ap- 
parent, a size of 25,000 farms was considered. 
Later, as the Agricultural Statistics Division 
became more interested in the plan, the pro- 
posed size was expanded to 300,000 farms in 
order to provide State estimates of acreages of 
major crops. 

About this time the Bureau of the Census 
was planning for the 1945 agricultural census. 
The Bureau of Agricultural Economics was in- 
terested in having the census identify the 
schedules of farms in the Master Sample so the 
census information could be used for subse- 
quent sampling purposes. The Bureau of the 
Census became interested in using the Master 
Sample as a means for collecting supplementary 
information. Accordingly, an agreement be- 
tween that Bureau and the Bureau of Agricul- 
tural Economics and the Statistical Laboratory 
was drawn up to develop the most efficient 
sample feasible. Under this agreement, the 
Master Sample was completed in time to be 
used in association with the agricultural 
census of 1945. 92 

The Master Sample was broadened to in- 
clude incorporated and unincorporated seg- 
ments in addition to the open country, or farm, 
segments. Nationally, it was broken down 



92 King, Arnold J. History of Master Sample for 
Agriculture. Jour. Amer. Statis. Assoc. 40(229): 38- 
45, Mar. 1945. 



86 



between these areas about as follows: incor- 
porated places — about 1 percent of the land 
area; unincorporated places — about 3 percent; 
and open country — about 96 percent. Land 
areas were selected for all of the 3,070 counties 

j in the United States and included about 
300,000 farms. It was adaptable to many dif- 
ferent types of surveys either for use as a 
whole or for the selection of smaller subsam- 
ples. The Master Sample was perfected under 

i the direction of Arnold King and R. J. Jessen. 

j The Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates 
participated from the outset in drafting plans 
and in preparation of the Master Sample 
materials. 

The University of North Carolina organized 
a statistical laboratory at Raleigh, N.C. Ger- 
trude Cox, who had been with the Ames Lab- 
oratory, was named Director. In 1940, the 
Agricultural Statistics Division entered into a 
contract with that Laboratory, under which a 
program similar to that conducted at Ames was 
inaugurated. The Raleigh Laboratory made a 
number of studies on special problems, partic- 
ularly in southern crops such as cotton and 
peanuts. 

In 1943, Earl E. Houseman, who had been 
engaged in research on sampling techniques at 
the Ames Laboratory since 1938, transferred 
to Washington. He effectively introduced pro- 
bability sampling techniques, primarily in 
numerous special surveys dealing with man- 
power, farm labor, and employment. 

During the war the Bureau was heavily 
involved with furnishing information to be 
used in planning for maximum agricultural 
production, meeting war problems, and post- 
war planning. 

The Department assigned responsibility to 
the BAE for the development of production 
goals. Statisticians of the Agricultural Statis- 
tics Division were called upon to assist in 
acquiring material necessary for the produc- 
tion goals. Secretary Wickard announced the 
goals at a series of meetings held throughout 
the country with agricultural leaders during 
[July 1941. 

Agricultural Statistics in World War II 

When World War II started in Europe on 
September 1, 1939, and the National Defense 
Advisory Commission was formed the follow- 



ing spring, the Division was called upon for 
inventories of food supply and appraisal of 
requirements under several assumed war situa- 
tions. The Division was reasonably well 
equipped to meet most of the new requests un- 
til the entry of the United States into the war 
after Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. As 
the war progressed, many special farm surveys 
quite unrelated to crops as such were called for 
such as the number of tractors on farms, 
requirements for repair parts, needs for steel 
for farm implements and facilities. This infor- 
mation was needed to determine priorities for 
critical materials. 

All facilities of the Department were mar- 
shaled to serve the war effort. An early step 
in this direction was the reorganization of 
1942. By Executive Order 9069, dated 
February 23, 1942, three new administrations 
were established and the Agricultural Defense 
Board replaced the Program Board as the top 
level advisory group to the Secretary. The 
three administrations were (1) Agricultural 
Conservation and Adjustment Administration, 
(2) the Agricultural Marketing Administra- 
tion, and (3) the Agricultural Research Ad- 
ministration. Five line organizations were left 
in their former independent status: Farm 
Security Administration, Rural Electrification 
Administration, Commodity Credit Corpora- 
tion, Farm Credit Administration, and Forest 
Service. The Agricultural Defense Board, the 
name of which was changed to Agricultural 
War Board on February 25, 1942, was com- 
posed of the eight group administrators and 
the heads of the Office of Defense Relations, 
the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, and the 
Extension Service. 93 

The Bureau of Agricultural Economics con- 
tinued as the staff agency for Planning and 
Economics Research and H. R. Tolley was 
named Chief of the Bureau. 

In the reorganization of 1942, the Agricul- 
tural Statistics Division was transferred to 
the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. On 
July 1, 1942, Callander relinquished his posi- 
tion to become Statistician for the State of 
Florida. Paul L. Koenig, who had been the 
Assistant Head with primary responsibility 
for administration, was appointed Head of the 
Division. Joseph A. Becker, the Assistant for 



93 A Century of Service, pp. 283-84. 



87 



Technical Work, was designated Chairman of 
the Crop Reporting Board where he remained 
until he transferred in August 1944 to the 
Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations. 

The war period was difficult with man- 
power at a premium. Many experienced sta- 
tisticians were drawn into the armed services. 
Travel was difficult and at times practically 
impossible. Gas and tire rationing necessitated 
discontinuance of some field surveys, such as 
cotton boll counts. Nevertheless, the service 
conducted many special inquiries related to 
war-induced problems. 

Food rationing and price control required 
dependable estimates of current and prospec- 
tive production. These data were especially 
needed by the War Food Administration, es- 
tablished as an adjunct to the Department of 
Agriculture, to promote adequate production 
of essential commodities. It also administered 
the allocation of available supplies among war 
agencies and domestic civilian outlets in ac- 
cordance with priorities determined by the 
War Production Board. Butter and cheese were 
among the foods for which more frequent 
reports of production and more detailed data 
of stocks by location became imperative. Dr. 
Harry C. Trelogan, in charge of War Food 
Orders covering dairy products, turned to 
agricultural statistics to acquire the data. He 
arranged to finance a new dairy statistics office 
in Chicago where the data could be assembled 
and distributed expeditiously. He then located 
butter and cheese order administrators in ad- 
joining offices. The weekly reports later proved 
indispensable for orderly decontrol of prices 
and removal of subsidies. Although the War 
Food Administration offices were closed there- 
after, industry has insisted upon maintenance 
of the Chicago dairy statistics office issuing 
weekly reports to this day. 

The farm labor supply became critical as 
workers went into the armed service or took 
high-paying jobs in war industries. Congress 
appropriated $235,000 to the Bureau of Agri- 
cultural Economics in 1944 and about half 
that amount the next fiscal year to obtain in- 
formation on the matter. A series of nation- 
wide mailed inquiries covering about 325,000 
farms was inaugurated. These were supple- 
mented intermittently by interview surveys of 
some 20,000 farm operators in 158 counties in 
42 States. With farm wage rates reaching 



unrealistic levels in specialized crop areas, the 
Division also made 60 local area surveys to 
provide statistics needed in making decisions 
regarding the stabilization of wages for farm 
workers. These special crop area surveys were 
conducted in 15 States and were concerned 
primarily with wages paid to harvesters of 
fruits and vegetables. Surveys of farm labor 
supply centers or camps were made to obtain 
data on migratory farm workers. An unusual 
request resulted in a survey of prisoner of war 
camps to obtain data needed to establish work- 
load standards for war prisoners used in the 
harvest of cotton, corn, peanuts, and similar 
crops. 

At the request of the Federal Communica- 
tions Commission, about 2,500 farms were con- 
tacted to obtain information on program 
preferences of rural radio listeners. The criti- 
cal need for statistics on a wide range of 
topics resulted in the inauguration of a series 
of Quarterly Surveys of Agriculture made in 
April, July, and October 1945 and January 
1946. These involved interviews of a sample of 
3,000 farmers in 101 counties and obtained 
data on farm operations, family living, and 
health problems. Emerson Brooks, who had 
been refused a release by the Department to 
serve in the Army, was in charge of the Divi- 
sion's survey activities. 

CHAPTER 9. POST WORLD WAR II 

BAE Reorganization of 1945 

Germany surrendered on May 7 and Japan 
on August 14, 1945. By Secretary's Memoran- 
dum 1139, dated December 12, 1945, the 
Bureau of Agricultural Economics was reor- 
ganized. Program planning work was trans- 
ferred to the Office of the Secretary with a 
Policy and Program Committee established to 
coordinate it. In the Secretary's memorandum 
the Bureau of Agricultural Economics was de- 
signated as the authorized source of economic 
information and assigned to supervise and co- 
ordinate economic and statistical research in 
the Department. Its functions were grouped 
under four Assistant Chiefs in charge, respec- 
tively, of agricultural statistics, income and 
distribution research, production research, and 
program analysis and rural life research. By 
the same memorandum, the Outlook and Sit- 



88 



uation Board was established to provide tech- 
nical review and approval of all economic 
outlook and situation reports. 94 

Oris V. Wells was appointed Chief of the 
Bureau of Agricultural Economics on May 16, 
1946. Wells had been in the Department for a 
number of years. He had been a Chief Program 
Analyst from 1941 to January 1946 when he 
was made Assistant Chief of the Bureau for 
prices, income, and marketing. 

On July 1, 1946, he issued a memorandum 95 
setting forth the reorganization of the work of 
the Division of Agricultural Statistics with 
the work of the division rearranged in six divi- 
sions as follows: (1) Field Crop Statistics, 
(2) Fruit and Vegetable Statistics, (3) Live- 
stock and Poultry Statistics, (4) Dairy Statis- 
tics, (5) Agricultural Price Statistics, and 
(6) Special Farm Statistics. The Crop Report- 
ing Board was continued. 

W. F. Callander, detailed from his position 
as Statistician for Florida to take charge of 
the agricultural census returned as chairman 
of the Crop Reporting Board in January 1946. 
The six new divisions reported to him. He 
was authorized to appoint two principal as- 
sistants. Agricultural Estimates, Bureau of 
Agricultural Economics was the term given 
in Wells' memorandum to refer to the new 
statistical divisions, the State statistical offices, 
and other technical, supervisory, and general 
operational units functioning under the direc- 
tion of the Assistant Chief in Charge of Statis- 
tics. 

In 1946, Callander made the following ap- 
pointments: Principal Assistants — Paul L. 
Koenig to have primary responsibility for di- 
rection and coordination of State statistical 
offices and maintenance of State cooperation, 
and to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board; 
R. K. Smith to be primarily responsible for 
coordination of technical policy and work pro- 
grams, to be Chief Technical Consultant of the 
Board, and in the absence of the Chairman 
and Vice Chairman to act as Chairman of the 
Board; J. E. Pallesen to continue as Secretary 



of the Board; and Walter Hendricks to con- 
tinue in charge of statistical methodology. 

Division Chiefs appointed were: C. E. Burk- 
head — Field Crops; Reginald Royston — Fruit 
and Vegetables; C. L. Harlan — Livestock and 
Poultry; B. H. Bennett — Dairy Statistics; 
B. R. Stauber — Farm Prices; and C. F. Sarle 
— Special Farm Statistics. 96 

Marketing Act of 1946 

Cooperative work with State departments of 
agriculture, similar to that in crop and live- 
stock estimating, was started in market news, 
and standardization and grading shortly after 
the establishment of the Bureau of Markets in 
1917. In most instances, functions related to 
State activities in marketing services and reg- 
ulatory work were the responsibility of the 
State Departments of Agriculture. 

As early as 1917, commissioners of agricul- 
ture had proposed legislation to provide Fed- 
eral funds for grants-in-aid to the States for 
marketing and regulatory work cooperative 
with USDA. The arrangement would be com- 
parable to research grants given to State col- 
leges of agriculture and experiment stations. 
At the meeting of the National Association of 
Commissioners, Secretaries, and Directors of 
Agriculture in 1919, Secretary Houston in his 
address to the group replied to such a request 
saying, "It would be neither appropriate nor 
desirable for the Federal Government to make 
available to the States directly any funds for 
the support of their regulatory or administra- 
tive agencies." 97 

The idea reappeared periodically in succeed- 
ing years, particularly, with the increased 
influence of the National Association of Mar- 
keting Officials during the depression years 
following 1929. Commissioner of Agriculture 
W. Kerr Scott of North Carolina took the lead 
in 1939 to have Senator Bailey of North 
Carolina introduce Senate Bill 2212 that would 
authorize an appropriation of $5 million to be 
allotted to the States on a matching basis for 
conducting marketing services programs in co- 
operation with USDA. 



94 U.S. Department of Agriculture Preliminary Inven- 
|tories. Record of Agricultural Economics, 1958, p. 9. 

95 Bureau of Agricultural Economics — Unnumbered 
memorandum dated July 1, 1946, signed by 0. V. Wells, 
Chief, and approved by N. E. Dodd, Acting Secretary 
of Agriculture. 



99 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agri- 
cultural Economics. Organization of Agricultural Esti- 
mates— C.E.M. 1255, July 26, 1946. 

97 Proceedings of the National Association of Com- 
missioners, Secretaries, and Directors of Agriculture, 
1919, pp. 143-47. 



89 



The Bailey Bill passed the Senate without 
opposition but got nowhere in the House. Con- 
gressman Harold Cooley of North Carolina, 
a ranking member of the House Agricultural 
Committee, introduced a similar bill, H.R. 
9023, in 1940. This bill was rewritten in 1941 
but it was never cleared by committee. 

In 1945, Congressman Hope of Kansas 
drafted a Marketing Bill that revised and ex- 
panded the bill prepared by Congressman 
Cooley. At the same time Congressman John 
Flannigan of Virginia, Chairman of the House 
Agricultural Committee, prepared a bill to pro- 
vide for expanding agricultural research. The 
two bills were combined and, as cleared by the 
House Agricultural Committee, were generally 
referred to as the Hope-Flannigan Research 
and Marketing Act. It was passed unanimously 
by both Houses and was approved August 14, 
1946. 9S Congressman Hope's bill appeared as 
Title II of the Act and was designated the 
"Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946." 

In the opinion of Congressman Hope and 
many agricultural leaders, the solution of farm 
income problems, particularly those relating 
to perishable commodities, lay in a better sys- 
tem of marketing and distribution." Title II 
authorized the Secretary to set up a separate 
marketing agency in the Department, to bring 
together, emphasize, and direct a cohesive 
program of related research, service and ex- 
tensions. Instead, Secretary of Agriculture 
Clinton Anderson established a unit within his 
office to approve projects and allot funds for 
Federal and State agencies equipped to per- 
form innovative marketing research service. 
Under this scheme the BAE obtained funds 
for developing new statistical series such as 
market milk sales and consumption. State De- 
partments of Agriculture received funds on a 
matching basis — e.g., Federal funds were re- 
quired to be matched at least 100 percent with 
funds from State sources. 

A variety of agricultural estimates projects 
were initiated with matched funds to secure 
statistics of acreage, production, and prices 
for specialized producing areas. County esti- 
mates for crop and livestock were frequently 
acquired. Need for such localized data was 



9S 60 Stat. 1082. 

99 Hope, Clifford R. A Visualized Program for Mar- 
keting. USDA Graduate School, 1951, 12 pp. 



widely felt not only by the marketing bureaus 
of the States, but also by extension agents, 
experiment stations, research workers, legisla- 
tors, and business organizations coping with 
marketing problems. 

Approved statistical projects were directed 
by the State Agricultural Statisticians. Their 
affiliation with the Federal Statistical Service 
assured coordination in the use of uniform 
methods, leading to comparability of the infor- 
mation with other States. 

The Research and Marketing Act, as the 
Hope-Flannigan Bill later became known, was 
intended to initiate marketing services rather 
than support services indefinitely. Accord- 
ingly, the projects were designed to explore 
the feasibility and test the value of proposed 
new statistical series. Proof of their accept- 
ance came if, upon completion of a project, 
another source of funding was found to con- 
tinue the service. Among the statistical series 
thus started as a multistate endeavor were 
quarterly pig reports for Corn Belt States 
which later were financed in regular appro- 
priations. This method of trying out statistical 
services prior to their acceptance in annual 
appropriations was in decided contrast with 
the much more common procedure whereby 
interested farm or industry groups importuned 
Congress to appropriate for specific data. 

In 1946 Callander, to expand and strengthen 
the Division's organization in this phase of the 
work, established the Special Farm Statistics 
Branch in the Division and brought Charles 
F. Sarle back from the Weather Bureau as 
Director of the new Branch. It was the work of 
this Branch in conducting enumerative sur- 
veys during the next 15 years which developed 
the operating procedures employed when the 
expanded program got under way in the 1960's 
under the leadership of Harry C. Trelogan. 

New Demands for Agricultural Estimates 

Upon Callander's retirement December 31, 
1949, Sterling R. Newell was appointed Assist- 
ant Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Eco- 
nomics for Agricultural Estimates and Chair- 
man of the Crop Reporting Board. 

Newell had entered the Division of Crop 
and Livestock Estimates in 1926. He had left 
in 1934 to go into the Marketing Research 
Division of the Bureau of Agricultural 



90 



Economics. He was later appointed Assistant 
to the Chief of the first Agricultural Market- 
ing Service in 1938 and occupied various ad- 
ministrative positions in succeeding years 
until he returned to the Bureau of Agricul- 
tural Economics on January 1, 1950. 

The most significant development in the re- 
porting program of agricultural estimates dur- 
ing the forties and fifties was the increased 
demand for more frequent, accurate, and de- 
tailed reports. Over the years, there had been 
many requests for more timely reports partic- 
ularly in emergency situations such as 
drought, floods, and freezes. But the demand 
that was growing in the forties and through 
the fifties was for much more detailed and fac- 
tual data on a broad front. 

This was symptomatic of fundamental 
changes occurring in agricultural production 
and marketing. The peak in agricultural pro- 
duction reached during the Second World War 
was attained despite the fact that the percent- 
age of the total population gainfully employed 
in agriculture had declined to 18 percent in 
1940 as compared with 27 percent in 1920 and 
21 percent in 1930. Rising farm production 
was the result of many things, including the 
increasing use of improved mechanical equip- 
ment, introduction of improved varieties of 
crops and breeds of livestock, and many tech- 
nological changes resulting in more efficient 
use of resources. The capital required to engage 
in farming increased greatly. The general- 
purpose farmer with a quarter section of land 
had to reappraise his program in light of his 
land resources and changed competitive situa- 
tion. Often the answer was specialization on 
the land available or to obtain more land 
resources either by purchase or lease. Prudent 
management became more dependent upon re- 
liable statistics for farm and market planning 
and operational decisions. The accuracy of the 
statistics were subjected to closer scrutiny. 

Vertical Integration 

Beginning in the early forties, a new set of 
forces became more evident. These have been 
generally referred to as vertical integration of 
the production, marketing, and distribution 
functions. 1 The idea of integration of the pro- 
duction and marketing functions was not new. 



1 USDA — A Chronology of American Agriculture, 
1790-1965. 



Cooperative marketing represented the effort 
of producers to project their management be- 
yond the farm gate into marketing. They 
pooled their sales, seeking large volume to 
effect economies that would accrue. Many such 
organizations developed during the twenties, 
particularly after the passage of the Capper- 
Volstead Act exempting cooperatives from the 
antitrust laws that was approved February 18, 
1922. The extent of integration varied, often 
going only as far as the shipping point or 
wholesale market. The California Citrus Ex- 
change was illustrative of a number that as- 
sembled and packed a large part of the 
members' output for sale through cooperatively 
operated outlets at terminal markets. A dis- 
tinguishing feature of the operation of coop- 
erative marketing associations was retention 
of grower control after the product entered the 
marketing system. 

A limiting problem that beset cooperatives 
was the purely voluntary feature of member- 
ship. Those who did not choose to join dealt 
on the "outside" reaping some of the benefits, 
but at the same time reducing the effective- 
ness of the cooperative. The Agricultural 
Adjustment Act provided for marketing agree- 
ments and orders. This provided for grower 
referendums whereby if an agreement was 
accepted by two-thirds of the growers it be- 
came mandatory on all growers of that crop 
in the area. These were effective in achieving 
an acceptable degree of grower control for only 
some commodities; notably milk, fruits, and 
vegetables in some areas. 

The vertical integration that had its begin- 
nings around the early forties was best illus- 
trated by the broiler chicken industry. 
Agricultural research produced new breeds, 
effective disease control, and feeding regimens 
that enabled farmers to feed to broiler weight 
in a short time in confined quarters for de- 
livery to the market or processor on closely 
estimated schedules. The industry started 
out as an individual farm operation. As it 
progressed, it soon became evident that the 
specialized housing and feeding essential for 
economical production was amenable to uni- 
fied management and conducive to integration 
with chick hatcheries, feed processors, and poul- 
try dressing plants. 

Old sources of data on production, move- 
ments, and prices disappeared as market ex- 



91 



change of ownership was replaced by con- 
tracted arrangements among the integrators. 
At the same time needs for data were accen- 
tuated to facilitate intelligent management. 
Also the operations were sufficiently synchro- 
nized to permit estimation of prospective 
market supplies well in advance. Major adjust- 
ments in statistical services were necessitated 
throughout the period of transition which 
was characterized by variable rates of change 
in different producing areas. 

Market Flow Statistics 

The call for new, more detailed, and more 
accurate reports was frequently repeated as 
vertical integration pervaded agriculture and 
led to a concept of "market flow" statistics 
within the Statistical Reporting Service. The 
term is descriptive of an objective of reports 
to provide detailed data at frequent intervals 
depicting the allocation of resources to pro- 
duction of a commodity, the progress of 
growth, and the movement from the producer 
into market channels. The weekly butter and 
cheese reports were forerunners of this type of 
service. Weekly broiler reports and reports of 
eggs set and chicks hatched were started in 
1948. Weekly hatchery reports for turkeys in 
the 10 principal producing States were started 
in 1954. In this instance reports were increased 
from a once-a-year inventory summary to 
weekly reports by type of bird, representing 
an increase from one to more than 100 releases 
a year. 

An experimental project was begun with 
Research and Marketing Act funds in three 
States in 1948 to develop techniques for pro- 
viding quarterly reports of cattle on feed. At 
the time, cattle feeding was becoming a spe- 
cialized enterprise in a number of areas. 
Tremendous feeding yards were operating in 
Arizona, California, and Texas and increasing 
rapidly in Colorado, Nebraska, and a number 
of other States. Investments in these facilities 
were very large and were increasing. The 
operators watched the experimental work 
in Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois very closely. 
When they were convinced that the techniques 
were sufficiently developed to make quarterly 
reports feasible, the industry made strong 
representations to the Department and the 
Congress that at least quarterly, and prefera- 



bly monthly, reports of the number of cattle 
on feed would be an important factor in 
orderly production and marketing of better 
grade beef. Quarterly reports of cattle on feed 
were started in 13 States in 1955. By 1966, 
quarterly estimates were made for 32 States 
and monthly for 5 States. 

Specialized weekly vegetable market-flow 
type statistical reports were introduced in 
1960 for Florida and Texas tomatoes. These 
reports show weekly plantings, rate of devel- 
opment, and harvest for a perishable crop 
whose price to growers fluctuates widely in 
response to the supply situation. As these two 
areas produced the bulk of the winter and 
spring crop of tomatoes, they are highly 
competitive. 

Statisticians, and surely many workers in 
other fields, encounter numerous instances 
which show clearly that the user of a report 
is often not willing to accept a figure or a state- 
ment on faith alone. Statisticians are often 
asked the question, "How accurate is this 
estimate?" This kind of question comes from 
farmers about as often as from businessmen. 
The Statistical Reporting Service is increas- 
ingly aware that statistics that were satisfac- 
tory only a few years ago do not suffice today, 
and that the statistics of today will not meet 
the needs of a few years hence. Therefore, the 
agency is continually concerned with improv- 
ing the service to meet current and future 
demands. 

Weekly Crop-Weather Reports 

More frequent crop reports was one answer, 
but not altogether an acceptable solution to an 
insistent demand on the part of producers, 
analysts, agricultural editors, businessmen, 
and others for more accurate statistics and 
faster release. Ten days from the time that 
data, received from voluntary reporters, were 
released as national estimates, was too long in 
the eyes of many users as early as 1950. Ad- 
ditional crop reports would be too expensive, 
and satisfactory technology for speeding data 
handling and transmission to cut the time 
simply did not exist. Another alternative was 
advanced. 

In some of the Federal-State crop reporting 
offices, the statistician had developed an ar- 
rangement with the Weather Bureau and the 



92 



State Extension Service whereby a weekly 
crop-weather report was issued. The Weather 
Bureau's weekly data from cooperative ob- 
servers were summarized along with ob- 
served crop conditions so that county extension 
agents could distribute a weekly letter. The 
statistician summarized the various parts each 
Monday, and released the report Tuesday at 
noon. In States having the service, the report 
seemed to meet many of the immediate needs. 

R. K. Smith, Director of Agricultural Es- 
timates, took the lead in developing coopera- 
tive arrangements with additional States, and 
by 1958 had expanded the plan for weekly 
crop-weather reports to all States. Each State 
also sent a wire report to Washington where 
a statistician from the Statistical Reporting 
Service, meeting with climatologists of the 
Environmental Services of the Department of 
Commerce (Weather Bureau), prepared and 
issued a national report each week by noon on 
Tuesday. 

These reports have had an enthusiastic re- 
ception by a very wide range of users through- 
out the country. They do not carry quantita- 
tive estimates of production, but they do pro- 
vide sufficient information on farm and 
weather developments in specific areas to 
enable the user to note significant changes oc- 
curring in the interim between monthly 
reports. 

Congressional Investigation of the 1951 Cot- 
ton Report 

Historically, cotton estimates have been the 
most volatile of all estimates handled by the 
Crop Reporting Board. It was naturally so be- 
cause from early days, agriculture in the 
South had been most commercialized and cot- 
ton was predominant. It was the most impor- 
tant export crop for many years. During 1841- 
60, the value of cotton exports was almost 
half the value of total exports. 

Changes in cotton prospects were reflected 
almost immediately in highly speculative cot- 
ton exchanges. They were sensitive to rumors 
of all sorts and the need for unbiased official 
estimates was of greatest importance. It has 
been noted that the cotton estimate set off the 
demand for tighter controls and the forma- 
tion of the Crop Reporting Board before there 



was a forecast of probable production during 
the growing season. It has been noted, too that 
when Nat Murray in 1911 suggested interpret- 
ing monthly conditions for quantitative fore- 
casts for all major crops, "Tama Jim" Wilson 
approved the plan for all crops except cotton 
because, as he said, "Cotton is dynamite." 

In 1902, the Bureau of the Census began col- 
lecting monthly statistics on the bales of cotton 
ginned. Consequently, the estimates of the 
Crop Reporting Board were checked for ac- 
curacy each year by comparing them with the 
amount of cotton ginned. An act of May 3, 1923 
(43 Stat. L 115), required semimonthly cotton 
crop reports between July 1 and December 1. 
This act was superseded March 3, 1927 (44 
Stat. 1372), by an act providing for a report 
of the acreage of cotton in cultivation as of 
July 1 and five monthly reports of production 
as of August 1 to December 1. It also required 
that the Census Bureau ginnings reports be 
issued simultaneously with the crop report. 2 
Such specific legislation testified to the national 
concern attached to this crop. 

Through the years, with the constant checks, 
the institution of various techniques such as 
frontage measurements for acreage, and boll 
counts, the Board's cotton forecasts and esti- 
mates became increasingly accurate. This is 
not to say that variations had not occurred 
from time to time and criticisms had not 
arisen. By and large, though, the reports were 
accepted and relied upon by all segments of 
the industry. 

The crop of 1951 was produced under widely 
variable conditions from extremely wet 
weather in the early season in some areas to 
extremely dry weather in others. The season 
seemed to start out very well, with the August 
1 forecast indicating a crop of 17,266,000 
bales, and remained favorable through the 
next month so that a September 1 forecast of 
17,291,000 was issued. During September, 
farmers were beginning to realize that con- 
tinuing drought, shedding of bolls, and boll- 
worm damage in late cotton were causing 
more damage than expected, and the October 
1 forecast was reduced by 360,000 bales. Bad 
weather continued and as picking of late cot- 



2 Joseph A. Becker — memorandum to C. W. Kitchen, 
Chief of the Agricultural Marketing Service, October 
1940 (in files of Field Crop Statistics Branch, SRS). 



93 



ton got underway around November 1, farmers 
became aware of extensive damage. Ginners, 
too, recognized the drop, and it became evident 
that abondonment of acreage exceeded expec- 
tations. The forecast dropped 1,160,000 bales 
from the October 1 figure. The total decline, 
amounting to about a million and a half bales 
in 2 months from September 1 to November 1, 
was unprecedented. 3 

The reaction ranged from severe criticism 
from some quarters to enthusiastic commenda- 
tion in others. Two prominent farmers from 
Alabama discussed the situation with the 
Chairman of the Board. One said he didn't see 
how it was possible to make such a ridiculous 
error, while the other spoke up and defended 
the Board saying, "This year was one that 
none of us knew what was in the field until 
picking was well underway." 

The House of Representatives' Agricultural 
Committee was concerned and appointed a 
subcommittee to investigate the Agricultural 
Estimating Service. Thomas Abernethy of 
Mississippi was Chairman of the subcommittee. 
The committee held extensive hearings during 
which the Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics, the Assistant Chief and Chairman 
of the Crop Reporting Board, and staff mem- 
bers collaborated in a full-scale investigation 
and analysis of procedures. Outside witnesses 
were also invited to appear. 

The problems encountered with cotton were 
explored objectively, and the committee was 
critical on many points. The fact that the Ag- 
ricultural Estimating Service had found it 
necessary, because of gasoline and tire short- 
ages during the war, to drop the cotton boll 
counts and restrict travel generally was viewed 
as a serious loss. Some members of the com- 
mittee were concerned that the service had 
never had funds appropriated for research to 
develop new estimating and forecasting meth- 
ods. The chairman of the committee com- 
mented in the foreword to the report: 

The members of the subcommittee which studied 
this matter do not pose as experts on sampling 



surveys, statistics, or crop reports. Rather than 
trying to become experts on this subject and issue 
a report in which the technical advantages of cer- 
tain statistical methods, as compared to others, 
have been thoroughly analyzed and classified, the 
committee felt that it would be much more bene- 
ficial for it to go thoroughly into the methods and 
procedures used by the Board on a nontechnical 
basis and to make its report accordingly. . . . 
When the anticipated throng of witnesses with 
suggestions for improving the crop reports failed 
to materialize, the committee instructed its counsel 
to seek suggestions, recommendations, and com- 
ments from groups and individuals who might be 
presumed to be informed on this subject and 
to have information of value to the committee in 
its study. . . . 

The report which follows, therefore, does not 
presume to make a concise series of hard and fast 
recommendations which the committee finds will 
improve the crop reporting service, although it 
will make some very specific recommendations 
which the committee believes will be of value. 
In the main, the report will be a general discus- 
sion of the details of the methods and procedures 
now used by the Board, with observations and 
suggestions by the committee which it believes are 
at least worthy of consideration by the Bureau of 
Agricultural Economics and by all those who are 
interested in improving the crop reporting service. 

Many of the suggestions and recommenda- 
tions made by the committee dealt with ways 
to strengthen and improve the service. There 
were several concerned with improving the re- 
porting lists. Others emphasized the develop- 
ment of objective measurements of coverage 
and yield, even though "such sources will 
doubtless require some additional funds." 

Prior efforts to carry on consistent research 
relating to many of the suggestions had been 
limited by both funds and urgent demands 
for data. Even the research conducted in co- 
operation with the statistical laboratories had 
been severely restricted by contingencies. 

The committee summed up recommenda- 
tions in the section on "Research, Analysis, 
and Experimentation" of the report. 4 

It is recommended that the Bureau of Agricul- 
tural Economics establish a unit devoted entirely 
to research, analysis, and experimentation directed 
at discovering the shortcomings in the Bureau's 
present methods and developing improvements 
therein. Such a unit should be free from any re- 
sponsibility in connection with the issuance of cur- 
rent reports, should have sufficient budget and field 
personnel to permit whatever field operations are 
necessary to its proper functioning. 



3 Summarized from a statement by O. V. Wells, 
Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and 
S. R. Newell, Assistant Chief, before the Subcommittee 
of the House Agricultural Committee investigating the 
Agricultural Estimating Service of BAE, January 22, 
1952 (mimeographed). 



4 U.S. Congress. Crop Estimating and Reporting 
Services of the Department of Agriculture Report and 
Commendations of a Special Subcommittee of the Com- 
mittee on Agriculture, pp. 31-32. House of Represen- 
tatives, 82d. Cong., 2d Sess., June 16, 1952. (Committee 
print unnumbered). 



94 






The committee cannot place too much emphasis 
on their recommendation. Many of the other recom- 
mendations made by the committee in this report 
are in the nature of suggestions which should be 
thoroughly considered by such a research unit be- 
fore being adopted. 



CHAPTER 10. INAUGURATION OF A LONG- 
RANGE PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF 
THE STATISTICAL REPORTING SERVICE 

On February 8, 1952, during the investiga- 
tion by the subcommittee, Congressman Aber- 
nethy wrote to 0. V. Wells, Chief of the Bureau 
of Agricultural Economics, asking two ques- 
tions : 

(1) Are you satisfied with the results of 
your present system of crop estimating and 
reporting? 

(2) Do you know any steps which might 
be taken to improve the accuracy of these 
forecasts and reports? 

In his reply, dated February 21, 1952, Wells 
said, in part: 

In answer to the first question, we believe that, 
taking into account the number and timing of re- 
ports issued in relation to the resources available, 
the Crop Reporting Service is a remarkably de- 
pendable and economical operation. Neverthe- 
less the answer to your question is that we are 
not wholly satisfied with the results of the pres- 
ent system. Our crop and livestock estimates are 
necessarily based upon sampling data and are 
also often forecasts, based upon assumption as to 
average weather or probable behavior of farmers 
over some specified future period. . . . 
In discussing this second question in more detail, 
there are some overall considerations which should 
be kept in mind. The Crop and Livestock Reporting 
Service was originally started for the purpose of 
providing general information to farmers and 
others interested in agriculture, chiefly on an an- 
nual basis. However, the Service has now become 
the source of official information on many phases 
of agriculture which is extensively used through- 
out the whole economy, with increased emphasis 
upon the use of closely timed monthly and other 
short-term reports as well as the need for break- 
ing some of the annual estimates down on a county 
basis. 5 

Wells outlined in brief a number of steps 
which might be taken, such as expanding re- 
porter lists; improving reporter response; in- 
creasing field travel; speedup of service; de- 
veloping and testing new techniques, includ- 
ing the use of personal enumeration for cer- 
tain types of reports; and strengthening the 
field offices. 



Wells summed up his recommendations in 
these words: 

To undertake a comprehensive research and test- 
ing program along the lines above indicated would 
necessitate development of a unit of qualified tech- 
nicians and a reasonable fund to employe enumera- 
tors. Since much of the basic office or laboratory 
research has already been done, a number of 
"pilot" operations should be undertaken in selected 
States or areas on a sufficient scale to indicate 
the feasibility of actually using such methods, both 
from the viewpoint of the technical estimating 
and actual administrative or operating problems 
involved. . . . 

Such a program adequately staffed is the most 
constructive method for future development of the 
service. A number of proposals have been made 
for adoption of new techniques. Whether these pro- 
posals would result in any considerable improve- 
ment, whether they are adaptable to the timing 
of the program, how expensive they are in relation 
to the greater accuracy that might be expected, 
are all problems that would have to be studied 
through actual operations paralleling the methods 
being used currently. 

The size and scope of such a program could vary 
considerably but it should be large enough to per- 
mit experimentation on a scale extensive enough 
to be proven in actual operation. As a matter of 
fact, it is now the laboratory findings that need 
testing at a "pilot plant" stag^. 

A unit set up to do this work should be separate 
and free from the demands for current operations. 
Its personnel should be available to aid the entire 
staff in analysis of sampling problems that will 
arise in the building of reporting lists on sound 
sampling principles, study of weather-crop rela- 
tionships and to carry out experimental work in the 
field without interruption to the current program. 
A unit capable of carrying out a reasonably satis- 
factory program would require an additional fund 
of $265,000 of which around $80,000 would be 
used in employing field enumerators and other 
temporary personnel. 8 

This recommendation for a research unit 
by the Chief of the Bureau was accepted by 
the committee with the following comment: 

. . . appropriation of the necessary funds for an 
adequate research unit as outlined herein will do 
more in the long run to improve the Bureau's 
reports than any other similar investment which 
could be made.' 

Development of the research staff actually 
got underway in the summer of 1952. Walter 
Hendricks, the statistical consultant for agri- 
cultural estimates and the only full-time tech- 
nician available, immediately turned his full 
attention to planning. In the Division of Spe- 
cial Farm Statistics, Emerson Brooks, who had 
long experience in developing and conducting 
surveys, adjusted the work of his division so 
he could devote a major part of his facilities 



SRS correspondence files. 



9 Ibid., pp. 49-53. 
'Ibid., pp. 32. 



95 



to a study of the problems. Ralph Stauber, 
Chief of the Division of Agricultural Price 
Statistics, as an extracurricular activity served 
as head of the Mathematics and Statistics De- 
partment of the USDA Graduate School. He 
was well trained in technical statistics and 
had much experience in conducting surveys; 
he also devoted considerable time — much of 
it overtime — assisting in the planning of the 
research. R. K. Smith, Assistant Chief and 
Vice Chairman of the Crop Reporting Board, 
was a constant counselor. 

To assist in developing the research and de- 
velopment program, the Chief of the Bureau, 
0. V. Wells; the Associate Chief, F. F. Elliott; 
and the Assistant Chief, S. R. Newell, se- 
lected a panel of six consultants to study and 
review the needs and advise on the program. 
Three consultants, whose primary interest was 
considered to be use of statistics, were Pro- 
fessor Thomas K. Cowden, then Head of the 
Agricultural Economics Division at Michigan 
State University (when he became Dean of 
Agriculture, he designated Professor Law- 
rence L. Boger, who took his place as depart- 
ment head and was designated a member of 
the panel) ; Professor Earl 0. Heady, Head of 
Agricultural Economics at Iowa State Uni- 
versity; and Professor Tyrus R. Timm, Head 
of Agricultural Economics at Texas A. & M. 
Three consultants, who were primarily sta- 
tisticians, were Professor Walter T. Federer, 
Cornell University; Professor George M. Kuz- 
nets, University of California; and Professor 
Fred F. Stephan, Princeton University. 

This group met periodically with the Asso- 
ciate and Assistant Chiefs of the Bureau and 
members of the research staff of Agricultural 
Estimates to advise on plans, review the re- 
sults of research, and make recommendations 
on future programs. 

American Farm Economic Association Helps 

About 1955, the American Farm Economics 
Association appointed an Agricultural Data 
Committee to study the agricultural data needs 
of the Nation. The committee included repre- 
sentatives of colleges, universities, industry, 
and other users. The chairman was Walter H. 
Ebling, State statistician for Wisconsin. The 
committee worked closely with the Marketing 
Committee of the Association of State Depart- 



ments of Agriculture and the Organization 
and Policy Committees of the State Experi- 
ment Stations and the State Agricultural Ex- 
tension Service. Ebling made two comprehen- 
sive surveys of all States. The results of these 
surveys and the studies were four main recom- 
mendations: (1) More complete coverage of 
agricultural data at the county or other local 
level; (2) greater accuracy and refinement at 
the State and national level; (3) more frequent 
reports and speedier release of such reports, 
and (4) additional subject-matter coverage in 
sufficient detail to serve local needs. 

Pilot Operations Started 

Much of the research that had been done at 
Ames and North Carolina, as previously dis- 
cussed, was used as a foundation for a new re- 
search and development program. The Master 
Sample developed at Ames was the basis for 
the design of the original probability sample 
put into practice. 

This project is described as: 

An enumerative survey was made in June of a 
representative sample of some 700 agricultural 
areas, covering approximately 3,000 farms, in 100 
counties of the 10 (Southern) State area. Part- 
time enumerators obtained from the individual 
farmer a record of the crops planted, the numbers 
of livestock, and other factors relating to his own 
farm. This survey was repeated in June 1955 and 
again in 1956 when 13 additional States, mostly 
in the North Central area, were added. 

To develop a basis for forecasting during the 
growing season, a sample of the farms covered 
in the June survey was selected and fields de- 
signated for objective yield determinations to be 
made later in the season. During 1954, 1955, and 
1956, actual measurements of crops were made in 
these fields and the final estimates of production 
were obtained on those individual fields at the end 
of the season. The measurements during the season 
were then related to the final production. From this 
work some experimental formulas were developed 
that could be used during the growing season for 
forecasting probable outturn. The crops covered 
during the experimental period were corn, cotton, 
wheat, and soybeans. 8 

Agribusiness Takes an Interest 

Shortly after Newell was appointed As- 
sistant Chief of B AE and Chairman of the Crop 
Reporting Board in 1949, Wayne Darrow called 
to discuss the crop reports. Darrow, formerly 
Director of Information for the Agricultural 



8 USDA. A Program for the Development of the 
Agricultural Estimating Service. 3 pp., Feb. 1957 
( mimeographed ) . 



96 



Adjustment Administration and Associate Di- 
rector of Information for the Department, cur- 
rently and for many years publisher of the 
Washington Farmletter, had always taken an 
active interest in the work of agricultural esti- 
mates and was an important user of the reports. 
At a conference with Newell in the summer 
of 1950, Darrow discussed the importance of 
the crop and livestock reporting work. He 
was much concerned with the urgency for 
strengthening the service to improve the ac- 
curacy of the reports and speeding up the re- 
lease of the information. He was particularly 
concerned with developing some ways of ob- 
taining more objective information on which 
to base the estimates of acreage and yield of 
crops, and estimates of livestock numbers in- 
cluding the expansion of the livestock reports, 
particularly those relating to hogs and cattle 
feeding operations. His thought was to estab- 
lish offices in each agricultural county to 
keep in close touch with producers and obtain 
direct information by contact or enumeration 
of agriculture in the county. Nevertheless, he 
was anxious to have the benefit of research to 
get practical recommendations on what might 
be done. 

As work was started on long-range plans, 
Darrow kept in close touch with the various 
ideas advanced and the progress of the re- 
search. To aid in attracting farm and business 
interest in the program, an informal commit- 
tee was set up, in consultation with and spon- 
sored by Dana Bennett, Director of the Foun- 
dation for American Agriculture. This group 
met on call to review plans and proposals and 
was very helpful in implementing the plan as 
finally adopted. 

Reorganization in 1953 

Shortly after Ezra Taft Benson was ap- 
pointed Secretary of Agriculture on January 
21, 1953, a study was started of the organiza- 
tion of the Department. As a result of that 
study, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics 
and the Production and Marketing Adminis- 
tration were abolished. The work on farm 
management and costs, land economics, and 
agricultural finance that had been in BAE and 
the cotton ginning research and administra- 
tion of the Insecticide, Fungicide, and Ro- 
denticide Act that had been under PMA, were 



all transferred to the Agricultural Research 
Service. 

A new Agricultural Marketing Service was 
composed of the agricultural estimating work, 
statistical and economic research, and the out- 
look and situation work of BAE, and the major 
part of the marketing research, services, and 
regulatory activities, the school lunch, and di- 
rect distribution activities of the Production 
and Marketing Administration. Oris V. Wells, 
who had been Chief of BAE, was appointed 
Administrator of the new Service. 9 

In many ways the Agricultural Marketing 
Service resembled the kind of marketing 
bureau that Congressman Clifford Hope had 
in mind when he sponsored the Marketing Act 
of 1946. Except for the addition of the cold 
storage reports, the agricultural estimating 
function was continued much as under the 
BAE. The name was changed to the Agricul- 
tural Estimates Division, and S. R. Newell, 
formerly Assistant Chief of the Bureau, be- 
came Director of the Division and Chairman 
of the Crop Reporting Board. R. K. Smith was 
designated Deputy Director and Vice Chair- 
man. Glenn D. Simpson continued as Secretary 
of the Board with added responsibilities for 
field operations. The six divisions under BAE 
became branches in the new organization. The 
chiefs of the divisions became chiefs of the 
branches, as follows: 

Agricultural Prices Statistics Branch — B. 
Ralph Stauber 

Special Statistics Branch — Emerson M. 

Brooks 

Dairy Statistics Branch — B. H. Bennett 

Field Crop Statistics Branch — Charles E. 
Burkhead 

Fruit and Vegetable Statistics Branch — 
Reginald Royston 

Livestock and Poultry Statistics Branch — 
A. V. Nordquist 

The Long-Range Plan Presented to Congress 

The Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropri- 
ations of the Committee on Appropriations, 
House of Representatives, had shown interest 
in the work of the Agricultural Estimates Di- 
vision and had followed closely the develop- 
ments since the investigation of 1952. On July 



9 A Century of Service, p. 377. 



97 



31, 1956, the Chairman of the Subcommittee, 
Congressman Jamie L. Whitten of Mississippi, 
wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Benson ex- 
pressing the interest of the committee in the 
crop and livestock estimating work. In the 
closing sentence of his letter he said: 

In brief, we would like to have a report that 
would cover the USDA's recommendations for the 
immediate and longrange program for the develop- 
ment and improvement of the agricultural esti- 
mating work of the Department. 10 

The hearing on the 1958 appropriations was 
held on February 7, 1957. At that time, Newell 
presented "A Program for the Development 
of the Agricultural Estimating Service." 11 

The essence of the plan was contained in 
four major segments or projects. It was recog- 
nized that all four projects could not be im- 
plemented at one time. They were therefore 
listed in order of priority. 

Project A contained the plan for meeting 
the most fundamental needs of the service, and 
at the same time provided the framework for 
implementing the other projects: 

OBJECT— To provide: 

a. Additional and improved estimates of acreage, 
yield and production of major crops and livestock 
numbers by species at the county, state, and na- 
tional levels that are necessary for the determina- 
tion of local and national agricultural policy and 
to meet the needs for local data in the adminis- 
tration of national programs. 

b. Estimates of total cropland, changes in numbers 
of farms and farms keeping livestock, and farm 
employment, by States. 

c. A basic organization for carrying out future 
steps in the long-range development of agricultural 
estimates by strengthening the system of voluntary 
reporting and providing the necessary facilities 
for obtaining annual interview surveys at the state 
and national levels, and to conduct special surveys 
as required from time to time for special studies 
or investigations provided for in other agencies 
of the Department. 

METHOD OF PROCEDURE: 

For its raw data the Division is dependent al- 
most entirely upon the voluntary cooperation of 
farmers and other reporters who submit their 
questionnaires by mail. This is an economical 
method and one that has worked quite well over 
a period of years, but like all methods, it has 
some limitations. It is anticipated that this proce- 
dure would be strengthened by more intensive work 



10 Jamie L. Whitten — letter to Secretary Ezra T. 
Benson, July 31, 1956. U.S. Dept. Agr. Appropriations 
for 1958, Part 2, p. 886. 

11 The long-range program as presented was drafted 
by Sterling R. Newell and Emerson M. Brooks, but it 
was of course a synthesis of ideas and proposals gen- 
erated by many people over a period of several years. 



on the reporting lists and supplemented with some 
new procedures and methods that have proven 
their dependability in other statistical agencies and 
by the research that has been carried on by the 
Division of Agricultural Estimates since 1954. 

A sample covering some 60,000 to 75,000 farms, 
scientifically distributed to be representative of 
the 48 States, would be established to strengthen 
the basis for state and national estimates. This 
sample would be enumerated completely each spring 
to obtain acreage of crops planted and live- 
stock numbers, and partially enumerated in the 
fall to obtain final acreage harvested, yields, and 
end-of-the-year livestock inventories. The large- 
scale mail inquiries presently carried on would 
be improved and continued as an integrated part 
of the enumerative surveys to add strength to the 
total information which would be necessary in 
order to arrive at more reliable estimates of crops 
and livestock by counties. 

The significance of this project is that it 
provided the basis for a fundamental change 
in the entire agricultural estimating methods. 
From the beginning of the service, the meth- 
ods have been based on projection between the 
census years. While the system of voluntary 
reports by mail had been developed to a point 
where it produced remarkably accurate esti- 
mates in most years, the statisticians were 
constantly bedeviled by lack of objective indi- 
cations of acreage and yield. Mail techniques 
could not meet the need for measuring changes 
in total land in farms, or changes in the num- 
ber of farms. This deficiency had been recog- 
nized back in the days of Dodge and, as noted 
elsewhere, continued through the years. The 
most recent effort was the proposal for an an- 
nual sample census that never developed. 

Statistical science progressed substantially 
in the preceding decade. The cooperative fun- 
damental research at the statistical laborato- 
ries provided the basic research for the devel- 
opment of the program. Launching Project A 
with the annual enumerations of a large prob- 
ability sample of agricultural segments 
throughout the country and the monthly ob- 
jective measurements in sample fields for im- 
proving forecasts and estimates of yield en- 
abled the Division to utilize the most sophis- 
ticated statistical techniques currently avail- 
able. This project does not eliminate the use of 
mailed voluntary crop reports, but it does 
make available indications based on a proba- 
bility sample and provide the basis for putting 
the mailed inquiries on a probability basis. 

Project B dealt with the improvement of 
the farm price reporting work. 



98 



OBJECT— To strengthen Agricultural Price Sta- 
tistics : 

a. By initiating a thoroughly modernized method 
of collecting data on prices received and prices 
paid by farmers to supplement and, to some ex- 
tent, replace the existing system, which is based 
largely upon the use of a mailed questionnaire. 

b. By expanding coverage to include prices for 
important commodities for which price data are 
not available or for which existing data are in- 
adequate. 

c. By providing more timely data by eliminating 
delays in the present operation. 

METHOD OF PROCEDURE: 

The proposed plan contemplates the employment 
of a corps of price enumerators in each State, 
usually one enumerator to each price reporting 
district (there are generally 9 districts per State). 
These enumerators, operating under the guidance 
of the State Statistician, would make periodic con- 
tacts with dealers and merchants selected under 
a scientific sampling scheme to ascertain prices 
received by farmers and prices paid by farmers 
for the various commodities, and would base their 
reports to the fullest extent practicable upon docu- 
ments of sale. Once the new program is in opera- 
tion, the mechanism would be available to remedy 
the existing gaps in data and coverage consistent 
with available facilities. 

The collection of price information would 
continue to utilize the mail questionnaire for 
a considerable part of its work. Some prices 
cannot be adequately covered by this method, 
and many other related statistics are needed 
where field enumeration should be employed. 
A part of the field enumeration force set up 
under Project A would be utilized in carrying 
out this project. The relatively small enumera- 
tion force that would be available on a con- 
tinuing monthly basis would provide a corps 
of trained interviewers available for handling 
quickly many of the special surveys the Di- 
vision is constantly called on to carry out. 

Project C deals with the ever-growing de- 
mand of the entire economy for faster han- 
dling of the statistical reports. 

OBJECT— 

a. To speed up transmission of data from the 
State offices to Washington, data processing in 
Washington, and distribution of reports to farmers 
and the general public. 

b. To provide more frequent reports during cri- 
tical periods on situations brought about by 
drought, floods, freezes, and the like. 

METHOD OF PROCEDURE: 

It is proposed that certain data be transmitted 
to Washington from the State offices by telegraph 
in secret code. This could be done before the 
analysis of the data is completed in the State 
offices. Data processing in the Washington office 
might be expedited by modern electronic comput- 
ing devices. Tests of such equipment indicate that 
considerable time might be saved by the use of 
these machines. As further tests are still being 
made, no recommendation is made now for the 
purchase of such equipment. But experience to 



date indicates that a great deal of attention must 
be given to mechanization in the near future. 

When the plan was presented, this project 
emphasized mostly the need for faster com- 
munication and processing of the information. 
At that time, the subject of electronic data 
handling was recognized but the full potential 
of electronic equipment could not be ade- 
quately appraised. As a matter of fact, the 
development of the electronic equipment was 
proceeding at such a rapid rate that any ap- 
praisal at that time would not have been very 
significant even for a year ahead. 

As the program developed in the next few 
years and changes took place when the De- 
partment was reorganized in 1961, this seg- 
ment of Project C has been one of the im- 
portant developments in the long-range plan. 

Project D was placed in the long-range plan 
to take cognizance of the demands that are 
constantly being made for additional statistics. 

object- 
To provide additional data needed at county, State, 
and national levels for a wide range of subject 
matter not now provided or provided with in- 
sufficient detail, accuracy, or timeliness. 

METHOD OF PROCEDURE: 

It is proposed to undertake additional work as 
the basic organization is developed under Projects 
A, B, and C. The additional personnel provided 
under these projects will, after the new basic pro- 
cedures are established, permit readjustment of 
the entire program, and furthermore, some addi- 
tional programs would be possible without ex- 
panded facilities. On the other hand, many of 
the additional services would require added facili- 
ties as, for example, the periodic inventories of 
fruit tree numbers, monthly employment on farms 
by States, varietal breakdowns on seed crops, and 
similar specialty crops. With the expanded organi- 
zation it is believed that such surveys can be 
carried on much more efficiently than would be 
possible at the present time. To undertake any 
of these services without the basic organizations 
anticipated for carrying the first project would 
be much more costly than would be the case other- 
wise. 

Actually, a considerable number of the de- 
velopments discussed in the preceding section 
— developments of the program in the 1950's 
— would be included in this project. 

The Congressional committee accepted the 
plan as the blueprint for the long-range de- 
velopment of the crop and livestock estimating 
work. No request for appropriations was made 
at the time. Although Chairman Whitten ex- 
pressed his interest and appreciation for the 
comprehensive reply to his request, he said 
that requests for funds should be presented 



99 



through the usual budgetary channels. Con- 
gressman Fred Marshall of Minnesota, rank- 
ing member of the subcommittee, led the dis- 
cussion for the committee and became an ac- 
tive advocate for putting the program into op- 
eration. Other members were also interested, 
particularly Congressmen William Natcher of 
Kentucky and Carl Anderson of Minnesota. 

The Long-Range Plan Becomes a Reality 

By 1957, funds for research and develop- 
ment work had been increased to about 
$500,000. The fieldwork continued in the 
Southern and North Central States on a pilot 
basis. At the same time, work was progressing 
on the development of models for forecasting 
yields, using the objective field measurements 
of cotton, corn, wheat, and some other crops. 
Cooperative studies with the Ames Laboratory 
were conducted on the validity of the objective 
corn yield estimates and the theoretical and 
applied problems relative to sample surveys 
and the development of methods of making 
objective forecasts of yields. 

The record of appropriations for agricul- 
tural estimating work after the committee 
investigation of 1952 until 1961 is interesting. 
The strong recommendations made in 1952 by 
Congressman Abernethy's subcommittee re- 
sulted in the inclusion of a request by the De- 
partment for an increase of $100,000 in the 
appropriation of 1954. The $100,000 request 
was approved by the Appropriation Commit- 
tee. Efforts to increase the amount met with 
little success until 1956. There were two rea- 
sons. First, the Department was following an 
extremely conservative policy toward this pro- 
gram. A second factor was the policy of the 
Division of Statistical Standards of the Bureau 
of the Budget. It took the position that the 
Department's function was primarily to esti- 
mate total U.S. production, regardless of legis- 
lation that required estimates by States. The 
Budget Bureau also took the position that na- 
tional estimates could be accomplished by enu- 
merating a relatively small national sample. 
State estimates were considered relatively un- 
important for most commodities. This idea was 
presented at the annual meeting of the Amer- 
ican Farm Economic Association held at Cor- 



vallis, Oreg., in August 1953. 12 A storm of pro- 
tests arose from the users of statistics. 

Despite the evidence of need, the Depart- 
ment conservatism was bolstered by the Di- 
vision of Statistical Standards of the Bureau, 
and for 2 years further financial support for 
research and development came only from di- 
versions of the Division's operating funds and 
the help of O. V. Wells, Administrator of the 
Agricultural Marketing Service, in econom- 
izing in other research to help the statistical 
program. It is appropriate to say here that 
Wells, a keen statistician in his own right, 
had for many years been much interested in 
better statistics in the whole field of economics. 

A small increase of $104,000 was allowed in 
the Department budget for 1956 and another 
of $289,000 in 1957. These funds were used 
largely in research and development. From 
then until 1960, when the 1961 budget was 
being prepared, no increase was allowed. This 
occurred despite the fact that the Appropria- 
tions Committee had expressed interest in ac- 
tivating the long-range plan presented at the 
appropriations hearings for 1958. 

When the 1961 Department estimates were 
asked for, Newell presented a request for an 
increase of about $2.2 million for Project A. 
The Department allowed approximately 
$500,000 with a note to the Bureau of the 
Budget that the Department would be willing 
to recommend an additional $700,000, or a 
total of $1.2 million if additional ceiling was 
allowed. The Bureau of the Budget allowed 
only the $500,000." 

The hearings before the House Committee 
reflect quite clearly the displeasure of the com- 
mittee with the handling of this item. The 
very great interest of Congressman Fred 
Marshall of Minnesota and Congressman Wil- 
liam Natcher of Kentucky became clearly 
evident. 

Marshall, a farmer and cooperating crop re- 
porter, had followed the agricultural estimat- 
ing program for a long time. He was a user of 



12 Stapp, Peyton, How the Office of Statistical Stan- 
dards Can Help Develop a Program. Jour. Farm Econ. 
25 (5) : 865, Dec. 1953. 

13 U.S. Congress. Department of Agriculture Appro- 
priations for 1961 — Hearings before the Subcommittee 
on Appropriations. House of Representatives, 86th 
Cong., 2d Sess., Pt. 2, pp. 124-29. 



100 



the reports, particularly the pig reports, and 
on frequent occasions had commented on the 
importance of good statistical reports. Senator 
Milton Young of North Dakota likewise ex- 
hibited enthusiasm for the work. 11 When the 
House Bill reached the Senate subcommittee 
on agricultural appropriations, Senator Young 
took an active part in supporting the program. 
The House bill provided an increase of 
$750,000 for the long-range plan, an increase 
of $250,000 over the budget allowance, which 
the committee said was to be considered as 
the first step in implementing the long-range 
plan. This action established the legislative 
policy with respect to the future development 
of the agricultural estimating work. When 
these additional funds became available on 
July 1, 1960, steps were taken to implement 
Project A on a full operational basis in 11 
States. This marked the beginning of a revolu- 
tionary change in the crop and livestock esti- 
mating work in the Department of Agricul- 
ture. 

Reorganization of 1961— Statistical Reporting 
Service Established 

Orville L. Freeman became the 16th Secre- 
tary of Agriculture on January 21, 1961. Sec- 
retary Freeman, a lawyer, had served three 
terms as Governor of Minnesota. A graduate 
of the University of Minnesota with bachelor 
of arts and law degrees, Freeman had spent 
summers on the family farm homesteaded by 
his grandfather in the 1850's. When appointed 
in 1961, he was the youngest man ever to oc- 
cupy the position of Secretary of Agriculture. 

On February 24, 1961, Secretary Freeman 
announced plans to reorganize research in 
agricultural economics and statistical report- 
ing under the guidance of a Director of Agri- 
cultural Economics, effective April 3, 1961, and 
named Willard W. Cochrane, Director. The 
Director of Agricultural Economics was ad- 
ministratively at the level of Assistant Secre- 
tary, and exercised general direction and 
supervision of the newly created Economic Re- 
search Service and the Statistical Reporting 
Service. 

The Economic Research Service brought to- 
gether the economic research functions ear- 



Ibid, pp. 125-28. 



ried on by the Agricultural Marketing Serv- 
ice, the Agricultural Research Service, and the 
Foreign Agricultural Service. (O. V. Wells re- 
tired on May 31, 1961, to become Deputy 
Director General of the Food and Agriculture 
Organization of the United Nations at Rome.) 
Nathan M. Koffsky was designated Adminis- 
trator of ERS. 

Harry C. Trelogan Appointed Administrator 

The Statistical Reporting Service was com- 
posed of the Agricultural Estimates Division, 
including the Crop Reporting Board; the Sta- 
tistical Standards Division; and the Market 
Surveys Branch of the Market Development 
Research Division — all of which were units of 
the Agricultural Marketing Service. 

Harry C. Trelogan, Administrator of the new 
service, received his doctorate in agricul- 
tural economics from the University of Minne- 
sota in 1938. He had served in the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture in a number of important 
positions. At the time of his appointment as 
Administrator, he was Assistant Administra- 
tor for Marketing Research in the Agricul- 
tural Marketing Service. In his long associa- 
tion with agricultural economics, he had be- 
come thoroughly familiar with the agricul- 
tural estimating work. 

Newell became Deputy Administrator and 
continued as Chairman of the Crop Reporting 
Board. The administration was organized in 
three divisions and the Crop Reporting Board. 

The Agricultural Estimates Division, with 
R. K. Smith as Director, included the five 
branches concerned with crop and live- 
stock estimating, as follows: 

Agricultural Price Statistics Branch — B. 
Ralph Stauber, Chief 

Dairy Statistics Branch — Ira E. Wissinger, 
Chief 

Field Crop Statistics Branch — Charles E. 
Burkhead, Chief 

Fruit and Vegetable Statistics Branch — 
Russell P. Handy, Chief 

Livestock & Poultry Statistics Branch — 
Robert H. Moats, Chief. 

Glenn D. Simpson was appointed Director of 
the Field Operations Division, and Emerson 
M. Brooks was made Deputy Director. The 
Division consisted of the Survey Operations 
Group with Bruce M. Graham as Chief, and 
43 State offices. 



101 



The Standards and Research Division, un- 
der the direction of Earl E. Houseman, was 
made up of the work of the Statistical Stand- 
ards Division and the Market Surveys Branch 
of the Market Development Research Division 
transferred from AMS, and the Research and 
Development staff of the Agricultural Esti- 
mates Division. The Standards and Research 
Division was organized with four branches: 
Research and Development Branch — Bruce 

W. Kelly, Chief 
Special Surveys Branch — Trienah Meyers, 

Chief 
Statistical Clearance Branch — J. Richard 

Grant, Chief 
Data Processing Branch — V. Nicholson, 
Chief. This branch was the nucleus of the 
Washington Data Processing Center es- 
tablished in 1962 with J. Frank Kendrick 
as Chief. 
This Division, in addition to the research 
and development activities connected with the 
agricultural estimates program, carried out 
special market surveys, provided statistical 
consultant services to other agencies of the 
Department, coordinated plans for Depart- 
ment surveys, and cleared all questionnaires 
for presentation to the Division of Statistical 
Standards of the Bureau of the Budget. 

The research and development program, un- 
der Bruce Kelly, expanded greatly from 1960 
on. Under his direction cooperative research 
with the Statistical Laboratory at Iowa State 
University at Ames was concerned chiefly 
with objective yields on a number of crops. 
The laboratory at the North Carolina State 
University at Raleigh carried on studies in re- 
sponse errors. Studies of the use of aerial 
photography in estimating crops and livestock 
were undertaken with the University of Cali- 
fornia, and Texas Agricultural and Mechan- 
ical College studied the use of multiple frame 
sampling. 

Washington Data Processing Center 

As field enumeration increased with the ex- 
tension of Project A of the long-range plan to 
additional States in subsequent years, it be- 
came evident that the electronic data process- 
ing unit initiated in 1958 was entirely inade- 
quate to meet the requirements of the growing 
reporting program. At the same time, the 



Department was studying various electronic 
data units being set up or proposed by other 
agencies of the Department. As a result of the 
studies, it was concluded that it would be 
more economical for all agencies to establish a 
few large units where the costly equipment 
could be more efficiently utilized. Accordingly, 
on July 1, 1962, the Secretary of Agriculture 
provided for the establishment of three data 
processing centers — one at Kansas City, one at 
New Orleans, and one at Washington, D.C. 
The Statistical Reporting Service was the 
agency in Washington with the greatest need 
for such a facility and with more technically 
qualified people available, so the Washington 
Center was assigned to the Statistical Report- 
ing Service. 15 

The Center, a Department of Agriculture 
facility, is under the direction of the Adminis- 
trator of the Statistical Reporting Service. 
Operating costs are derived from charges made 
to agencies that use the services. This applies 
equally to SRS. Tabulation of the enumera- 
tive surveys made under the long-range plan, 
as well as other surveys made for the use of 
the Crop Reporting Board, are priced by the 
Center and paid for by the SRS. 

Until the enumeration of the large proba- 
bility sample was expanded to a full operation 
in all States, it was necessary to carry on the 
older methods more or less parallel with the 
new sampling methods. By 1966, funds had 
been increased sufficiently to put the enumer- 
ation program, proposed in Project A, on a 
full operational basis in all of the 48 contigu- 
ous States. 

The development of the Center required a 
great deal of planning. The first problem was 
to secure satisfactory space to accommodate 
the large amount of machinery required as 
well as the office space to house the personnel 
needed to operate the new facility. One limit- 
ing factor was the necessity for a location 
adjacent to the Crop Reporting Board where 
the security requirements provided by law and 
the rules and regulations of the Department 
could be assured. The unit had been located in 
temporary space in another Government build- 
ing and operations were carried on with rented 
equipment and rental of time on equipment of 
other agencies. 



Secretary's Memorandum No. 1509, July 1, 1962. 



102 



A permanent location that could be adapted 
to the requirements of the Data Processing 
Center with contiguous space for the crop and 
livestock estimating work and the Crop Re- 
porting Board was finally made available in 
the subbasement and basement of the second 
wing of the South Building. 

A complete renovation of the subbasement 
was required for the Data Processing Center. 
This area was transformed into an attractive 
location for the extensive machine installation 
and associated office facilities for the support- 
ing personnel. Meanwhile, plans had been de- 
veloped for the necessary machinery and its 
procurement. Personnel operating in the tem- 
porary location were ready to move to the 
permanent location as soon as it was ready. 

The appropriation act for fiscal year 1966 
(the fiscal year began July 1, 1965) provided 
$993,000 for procuring equipment and $740,- 
000 for converting operations to the new 
electronic equipment. The appropriation act of 
1967 (beginning July 1, 1966) provided an 
additional $543,500 for conversion. 

Operation of the Center actually began in 
January 1966, but the official opening cere- 
mony was held on April 1, 1966, marking the 
beginning of the celebration of the 100th year 
of continuous crop and livestock services to 
the Nation. 

The New Agricultural Estimating Service 

The opening of the Washington Data Proc- 
essing Center provided facilities for processing 
data rapidly upon receipt from the field. Thus, 
the stage was set for the most revolutionary 
change that has occurred in a century. 

As noted throughout this story of the serv- 
ice, the original objective was to measure 
agricultural production. Early emphasis there- 
fore centered on a major survey in November 
and December of the acreage of crops har- 
vested and the final yield. During the growing 
season qualitative monthly reports were issued 
on the condition of crops. As time went on and 
commercial production became more impor- 
tant, these production and condition reports 
did not suffice and quantitative forecasts were 
made during the season. Later, it developed 
that estimates of acreage planted were re- 
quired and surveys were made in June to ob- 
tain this information. The information was 
obtained from voluntary mail reports from 



farmers. Statisticians were fully aware of the 
inadequacies of the system and wished for 
some way of securing samples that could be 
appraised and analyzed statistically. 

Under the new plan the principal emphasis 
is placed on securing a statistically reliable 
sample of acreage of crops planted. In June of 
each year, an enumeration is made of a scien- 
tifically designed sample of some 17,000 area 
segments spread throughout the United States. 
The enumerator gets a complete report on 
acreages within the assigned segments. Spot 
checks are made currently on the work of the 
enumerator by field supervisors to make sure 
he is following instructions in detail. 

The enumerator's report is sent to the State 
statistician, who makes a check on the ques- 
tionnaires, punches the data on cards, and 
forwards them immediately for electronic 
processing in the Washington Data Process- 
ing Center. Here the data are summarized and 
expanded into State, regional, and national 
indications. These summarizations are re- 
turned to the State statisticians for use in 
making their recommendations. Sampling er- 
rors for each item are computed during the 
processing run and are available to the State 
statisticians and the Crop Reporting Board. 

In each State the statistician also conducts 
a mail survey. The mail survey is required to 
supplement the data obtained from the prob- 
ability sample, because the probability area 
sample for a single State is too small to pro- 
vide State and sub-State estimates with an 
acceptable degree of reliability. The State sta- 
tistician thus has the results of the enumer- 
ative survey and the mail survey for analysis 
in making his recommendations to the Board. 

At the meeting of the Board, each member 
is given all the indications available on the 
acreages of corn, wheat, cotton, or other crops 
planted for the United States and the major 
regions to enable him to exercise independent 
judgment with respect to each estimate. He is 
also given the standard errors computed from 
the enumerative survey so that he can appraise 
the degree of precision and reliability that can 
be attached to these indications. 

The Board first establishes the U.S. figure 
and then the regional figure for the crop under 
consideration. Each individual State estimate 
is established on the basis of the results of the 
State enumeration, the results of the State 



103 



mail sample, and the statistician's recommen- 
dations. The sum of the State estimates is 
compared with the national estimate and usu- 
ally they are in close agreement. Differences 
are reconciled by appropriate adjustment in 
individual State estimates within the range of 
the standard error. 

This procedure is just the opposite of the 
former practice wherein the national figure 
was built up by summing the State estimates. 

The new procedure takes advantage of the 
fact that sampling errors of the national totals 
for major crops and livestock items are much 
lower than for individual States. State data, 
for example, may have a sampling error that 
is several times larger than that of the na- 
tional total. Therefore, in starting with the 
national total, the Board is on firmer ground 
than the other way around. 

The June enumerative survey is also the 
basis for estimating numbers of farms. It has 
been found that the number of farms can be 
estimated each year with a standard error of 
about 1 percent for the United States. It is 
also the basis for determining the number of 
farms keeping livestock. 

The enumerative survey in December is made 
on a subsample from the June survey and 
deals primarily with livestock. Supplementing 
this sample is an enumeration of large live- 
stock farms. 

Visualized in the plans for the future is a 
large-scale June probability mail survey. 
When it is fully implemented, a fall produc- 
tion and acreage inquiry will be made of the 
June respondents. The returns from this sur- 
vey will be used for adjusting June planted 
acreage estimates, for determining utilization 
of the planted acreage and supplementing pre- 
harvest objective yield indications. The acre- 
age and production survey will be large enough 
to be useful in making county estimates for 
specific items. 

Reorganization of the Statistical Reporting 
Service in 1966 

To utilize the new techniques and facilities 
most effectively, a careful and detailed study 
of the organization was started in 1965. In the 
fall of 1966, results of the study were pre- 
sented and on November 10, 1966, the Admin- 



istrator promulgated the new organization. 16 
The following organization chart of the Sta- 
tistical Reporting Service shows the structure 
and administrative alignment of the several 
groups. 

The need for this realignment evolved as 
the enumerative technique increased in volume 
and complexity of the data, and electronic 
processing made a more comprehensive anal- 
ysis possible. The four divisions shown in the 
chart represent the principal responsibilities 
involved in providing a particular report. (1) 
The research needed to develop and guide the 
statistical techniques and to continuously ap- 
praise the statistical adequacy of the results — 
the Standards and Research Division. (2) The 
design and preparation of survey forms, prep- 
aration of instructions relating to the collec- 
tion of data by enumeration or mail proce- 
dures, and provision of technical assistance to 
the field offices for data collection and proc- 
essing — the Survey and Data Division. (3) 
Electronic processing of the data gathered — 
Washington Data Processing Center. (4) De- 
termination of data requirements to achieve a 
particular statistical output, definition of out- 
put of crop and livestock estimating surveys, 
and preparation of all estimates and forecasts 
— the Agricultural Estimates Division. 

As in any organization, all of the divisions 
work together, but defining the principal areas 
of responsibility for each creates more efficient 
operation within the total program because 
each unit can maximize the products of its 
particular skills. 

The field offices — the 44 State statistical 
offices — are by far the largest part of the 
whole organization. More effective and better 
coordinated use of these offices is provided by 
a new assistant administrator. Thus, the re- 
sponsibility for overall administrative direc- 
tion and coordination of field operations is 
placed at the top administrative level of the 
whole service. 

Maintenance of favorable relationships with 
State statistical agencies is closely aligned 
with the field office management. Gradual ex- 
pansion of cooperation with States has led to 
formal agreements, involving some contribu- 
tion of resources from the cooperating agency, 



16 USDA Statistical Reporting Service, Reorganiza- 
tion. SRS General Notice No. 28, Nov. 10, 1966. 



104 



STATISTICAL REPORTING SERVICE 



ADMINISTRATOR 

Harry C. Trelogan 



ASSISTANT 
ADMINISTRATOR 



R. P. Han 




AGRICULTURAL ESTIMATES 
DIVISION 



DIRECTOR 




B W. Kelly 



DEPUTY 
DIRECTOR 
J. W. Kendall 



METHODS 

STAFF ^re* 

CHIEF - 

C E Caudill ± v^ 



CHIEF C E Burkhead 

FIELD CROP. 
• FRUIT, AND 
VEGETABLE 
STATISTICS 
BRANCH 



^ - *fc 



CHIEF E 
LIVESTOCK, 
DAIRY. AND 
POULTRY 
STATISTICS 
BRANCH 


B Hannawald 



CHIEF 



B R Slauber 



AGRICULTURAL f*. 
. PRICES 
AND .p « ' 

FARM LABOR 
BRANCH J^ 



DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR 


AN[. G. D Simpson 


CHAIRMAN 
CROP 




REPORTING 


- «s 


BOARD 


A ,«5 



ASSISTANT TO THE ADMIN- 
ISTRATOR 



J.L. Aschwege 



H~~ 



SURVEY AND DATA 
DIVISION 



DIRECTOR 
J W Kirkbnde 



r 



CHIEF B M Graham 



DATA 

COLLECTION 

BRANCH 



W k. 



CHIEF M. D. Biallos 


SYSTEMS VH 

DEVELOPMENT 1 ] - 

AND " • «-f ' 

PROGRAMMING 

BRANCH ^N^W 



CHIEF M R Koehn 

DATA SERVICES 
BRANCH AND 
SECRETARY 
CROP 
REPORTING 
BOARD ^L'wlkk 



SRS StoCf: Professional 530, Clerical 805, Total 1,335 Federol Employees, 
of ihese , 71 Professional and 45 Clerical are in the Washington Data 
Processing Center. 

Agricultural Statisticians: Total 459, of these, 335 are in State Offices, 
124 in Washington. 




E. M Brooks 



STAFF OFFICER 
FOR CAREER 
DEVELOPMENT 
AND FOREIGN 
PROGRAMS 



ASSISTANT 

STAFF 

OFFICER 




STANDARDS AND RESEARCH 
DIVISION 



DIRECTOR 
E. E. Houseman 




CHIEF 

RESEARCH 
"AND 

DEVELOPMENT 
BRANCH 



CHIEF 

.SPECIAL 
SURVEYS 
BRANCH 

CHIEF 

.statistical 
"clearance 

BRANCH 



M Weidenhame 




J R Grant 



44 STATE STATISTICAL OFFICES 



G.D Harrell 



STAFF OFFICER 
FOR PPBS 
AND WORK 
MEASUREMENT 




ASSISTANT 



W J Marston 



n h 



WASHINGTON DATA 
PROCESSING CENTER 



DIRECTOR 
G D Bearden 



DEPUTY 
DIRECTOR 
W S Wise 




CHIEF 

AGENCY 

PROGRAMS 

BRANCH 

CHIEF 

MATHEMATICS 
AND SURVEY 
APPLICATIONS 
BRANCH 



OPERATIONS 
BRANCH 



CHIEF 

STANDARDS 
AND 

PROCEDURES 
BRANCH 

CHIEF 

PRODUCTION 

CONTROL 

BRANCH 



J L. Wheoton 




E Fry 



D H Banks 



^Vk 



with 52 agencies in 47 States. The contribu- 
tions range from a few hundred dollars to 
around $400,000 in two States; aggregating 
more than $3,000,000 in 1967-68. Contribu- 
tions are accepted in numerous forms: Office 
space $179,000, ADP equipment $128,000, 
printing and reproduction $183,000, personnel 
assistance $2,096,000, travel funds $177,000, 
and miscellaneous items $270,000. Projects 
conducted for States cover a wide range of 
statistical activities including such diverse 
services as State farm census, objective yield 
estimates for specialty crops, surveys of 
equine populations, turf grass acreage, storage 
holdings of products subject to unusual haz- 
ards in particular seasons, and preparation of 
annual statistical bulletins. 

The Statistical Reporting Service also per- 
forms surveys, under reimbursable arrange- 
ments, for a number of other Government 
agencies seeking data beyond those provided 
for in the SRS appropriations. Among these 
are county estimates for specified crops for the 
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, wage 
rates paid on farms and in food processing 
plants for the Department of Labor, and graz- 
ing costs experienced with cattle and sheep for 
the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land 
Management. Because of its unique ability 
to acquire primary data from farms and 
closely related industries, requests for these 
services in some years have aggregated in ex- 
cess of a million dollars. Advantages accruing 
from these activities include less expensive and 
higher quality estimates, fewer calls upon re- 
spondents for data, and acquisitions of data 
bearing a complementary relationship to crop 
and livestock estimates, especially for check- 
ing the reliability of regular estimates for 
particular localities. 

The Statistical Reporting Service is the 
chief statistical agency of the Department of 
Agriculture. It is the outstanding organization 
of its kind in the world. The Crop Reporting 
Board is respected nationally and internation- 
ally. The vast volume of statistical information 
issued by the Service constitutes the factual 
base on which the complex system of produc- 
tion and distribution of the essential food and 
fiber for the Nation is dependent. The sta- 
tistics are grist for the economic analyst's mill 
and the basis for innumerable national and 



international programs and policy decisions 
that affect the entire economy. 

The Service and all of its predecessor or- 
ganizations, by whatever name, have been 
built by people, many people, who deserve the 
real credit for its accomplishments. There al- 
ways have to be leaders who must take blame 
and bow nicely for the credit. The leader 
nevertheless is responsible for providing ideas, 
encouragement, and energy in developing the 
environment that keeps the team working. 

The Statistical Reporting Service of the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the ad- 
ministration of Harry C. Trelogan, with an 
annual appropriation of about $14 million was, 
in 1968, the largest agency in the world de- 
voted to collecting, processing, analyzing, and 
disseminating current statistics concerning 
the agricultural economy. Its staff of 500 pro- 
fessional employees and 1,000 clerical workers 
located in offices from Boston to Honolulu and 
from Orlando, Fla., to Partmer, Alaska, are 
carefully selected and trained in the prepara- 
tion of hundreds of reports each year pertain- 
ing to the Nation's agriculture. It has come a 
long way since 1866, but the words of J. R. 
Dodge, written in 1887, are still true and will 
probably be so for many years to come. 

The statistics of this country do not now suffice 
to meet the wants of legislators and business- 
men . . . This pursuit of current statistical in- 
formation has become so eager that data attain- 
able, existent and nonexistent, are alike required, 
in season and out of season, of a character possi- 
ble and impossible. Such demands, often unrea- 
sonable and annoying, attest, nevertheless, the 
growing importance of statistics." 

A century and more of grappling with prob- 
lems of providing timely, accurate, and com- 
prehensive agricultural statistics has de- 
lineated some basic concepts, principles, and 
procedures that can be briefly summarized. 

1. In the complex society and dynamic world 
in which we live current indications on the 
production, marketing, and utilization of agri- 
cultural output are essential to synchronize 
manifold activities independently conducted 
within agriculture and to harmonize them 
with other parts of the economy. The past 
cannot be studied, the present cannot be ap- 
praised, and the future cannot be forecast un- 
less there are available meaningful statistics 
concerning the economy. 



17 Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture, 1887, 
p. 523. 



106 



2. Public and private needs for the data are 
best met with a statistical service planned and 
directed by a central Government agency with 
direct lines to a well-trained and adequate 
field staff. 

3. Integration of the Federal statistical pro- 
gram with related State agricultural statis- 
tical services is distinctly advantageous. A 
half century of close cooperation between the 
Federal and State governments in conducting 
a highly coordinated statistical program has 
demonstrated the value of such arrangements. 
A joint Federal-State endeavor under one 
supervisory head avoids duplication of effort, 
saves money, reduces demand upon corre- 
spondents and provides both the Federal and 
State governments with uniformly consistent 
data covering a broader range than either 
could provide independently. 

4. A fact-finding function independent of 
political and economic pressures contributes 
to objectivity. Freedom from policy and pro- 
gram responsibilities is conducive to freedom 
from bias. 

5. A statistical program must be adaptable 
and techniques and procedures flexible, to 



meet the constantly changing and expanding 
demands of a dynamic agricultural economy. 
It is true of the statistical field as well as 
elsewhere that "You cannot put your foot into 
the same river twice." 

6. A competent research staff freed of in- 
volvement in day-to-day operations is a requi- 
site for adapting new statistical technology 
to emerging requirements. 

7. Recruiting, Training, Supervising, Ap- 
praising, Promoting, Awarding, Motivating, 
and Servicing employees merit close attention 
to maintain a competent, progressive staff 
with high esprit de corps for the specialized 
work entailed in agricultural statistics. 

8. The lifeblood of a successful statistical 
service is continuing rapport with farmers 
and others who provide the primary data, 
with the Department and other agency offi- 
cials, and with the Congress. A statistical serv- 
ice based on voluntary reporting must work 
continuously to assure its respondents that 
their efforts yield fruitful results, that anal- 
yses are done honestly, efficiently, and skill- 
fully, and results are disseminated equitably. 



107 



PART V. APPENDIX 



CHAPTER 11. A CENTURY OF AGRICULTURE 
IN CHARTS AND PICTURES 

A Picture of Agricultural Statistics, 1866- 
1966 

Throughout the preceding chapters, the pri- 
mary objective has been to tell the story of 
the development of the crop and livestock esti- 
mating work of the Department of Agricul- 
ture. In developing that story some of the 
more important factors that have influenced 
the progress of the program have been dis- 
cussed. The end product of the statistical re- 
porting work is a volume of statistics that 
cover almost every phase of the large and 
complicated agricultural industry. 

These statistical series, individually and col- 
lectively, represent the net effect of a combi- 
nation of a host of factors in addition to those 



mentioned in the text. For example, the gen- 
eral pattern of crop production has been that 
of a declining acreage and rising production. 
This, of course, is a reflection of a vast amount 
of research into improved varieties, hybrid- 
ization, soil conservation, improved fertilizer 
and fertilizer practices, and better machinery. 
These are but a few of the things that are 
summed up in a time series chart of acreage- 
production of a crop such as wheat, corn, or 
potatoes. The agricultural statistician must be 
cognizant of the numerous factors that go into 
the reshaping of the Nation's agriculture. Dis- 
cussion of such detail is not in the province of 
this chronicle. Growth in the statistical series 
themselves reflects the magnitude of change. 
The following charts represent an effort to 
provide a panoramic view of a century of 
agriculture as painted by the statistician's 
broad brush. 



WHEAT 



RYE 



HARVESTED ACREAGE (Mil 



PRODUCTION (MIL. BU. 



1,200 




900 



600 



300 



1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 




WHEAT AND RYE 

YIELD PER HARVESTED ACRE (BU.) 




1866 



1886 



1906 



1926 



1946 



1966 



HARVESTED ACREAGE (MIL.) 



400 



300 



CORN 



PRODUCTION (MIL. BU. 



REPORTING SERVICE 




108 



HARVESTED ACREAGE (MIL. 



OATS 



PRODUCTION (Mil. BU 



1,200 




BARLEY 



900 



600 



300 



HARVESTED ACREAGE (Mil.) 



PRODUCTION (Mil. IU.) 



1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 




1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 



CORN AND BARLEY 



YIELD PER HARVESTED ACRE (IU 




1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 



HARVESTED ACREAGE (MIL.) 



120 



HAY 



90 



60 



30 



PRODUCTION (MIL. TONS) 



100 







Production 


M 


•"" 








V 


V 








ju- 






■T EUrvefted »cr»*ge 















75 



50 



25 



DEPARTBE-HT OF AGHCULTUIE 



1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966' 

US DEPAITMEHT Of AGtiCUlIUIE NtG IIS 152-ti (5) STATISTICAL REPORTING SERVICE 



POTATOF«i 

HARVESTED ACREAGE (MIL.) ru,n,ww PRODUCTION (MIL. CWT. 




POTATOES 



200 



150 



100 



50 



1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 

U . DE'ARTMfIT OF A&RlCUlTUIE MEG SIS IS) I* (S) STATISTICAL lEPOITIHG JEtVICl 



PER ACRE (CWT 


.) 






.i 










/ 










! 


lA/s^Aa*. r"V 


K k N A/*^ 


vvMM^ 


^ 




▼ V^'yVV > 


i/VwW 









1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 

US DfAltMIIT OF A&RKUlTUlf NEC SI1HI (l 111 it Al 1ST H M If POI T'M& SI HltJ 



109 



TOBACCO 



HARVESTED ACREAGE (MIL.) 




'1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 

US DEPAITMEH1 Of A6IKUIIUI! IU SIS IJJ-M 15) STATISTICAL IEfOITI»G SERVICE 



COTTON 



PRODUCTION (MIL. LI.) HARVESTED ACREAGE (MIL.) 



PRODUCTION (MIL. RALES) 




1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 

Nit StS IS* ti IS) STATISIICAl IEP0I1IH SERVICE. 



j S DtPAIiaitti Of AGRICULTURE 



COTTON 



YIELD PER HARVESTED ACRE (LB.) 



600 



450 




300 



BUCKWHEAT 



HARVESTED ACREAGE (MIL 



PRODUCTION (MIL. BU.) 




1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 



5/ it IS) STATISTICAL BEPOfiTIHG SERVICE 






ALL CATTLE AND COWS 
KEPT FOR MILK, JANUARY 1 

NUMBER ON FARMS (MIL.! 




1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 



MILK COWS AND PRODUCTION PER COW 

NUMBER ON FARMS (MIL.) | PRODUCTION PER COW (THOUS. II.) 




1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 



I: S DEPARTMENT OF 



THAI REPORTING ! 



MEMT OF AGRKU 



TKAI (((PORTING SERVICE 



110 



ALL SHEEP AMD LAMBS. 
AND STOCK SHEEP. JANUARY 1 

NUMIER ON FARMS (Mil.)' 



HOGS. JANUARY 1 




1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 



80 



60 



40 



20 






1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 



REPORTING SERVICE 



LS DtTAIlafMY OF tGIICUUUtf 



■ EC SRSItlttlSI STATISTICAL REPORTING SERVICE 



SOWS FARROWING. AND HOG PRODUCTION 

NUMBER OF SOWS MIL. 




1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 



ANNUAL AVERAGE NUMBER OF LAYERS 
AND ANNUAL RATE OF LAY 

AVERAGE LAYERS (MIL. 



400 



300 



ANNUAL RATE PER LAYER 




1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 



HORSES AND MULES. JANUARY 1 


NUM 


IER ON FARMS 


(MIL.) 








24 
18 
































12 












6 
n 













HOGS AND CATTLE. VALUE PER HEAD. 
JANUARY 1 

FARM VALUE PER HEAD IS) 



1866 1886 1906 1926 1946 1966 




111 



WHEAT AND CORN: PRICE RECEIVED 
BY FARMERS 



PRICKS PER BU.) 



2.00 



1.50 



1.00 




1866 



1886 1906 



1926 



1946 



1966 



INDEXES OF PRICES RECEIVED AND 
PAID BY FARMERS 

INDEXES (1910-14=100) 



151 S1AHSTKAI REPORTING SERVICE 




EPOETINS SER 



FARM OUTPUT 



100 



75 



50 



25 



OUTPUT (% OF 


1957-59) 






































l 


i 









1870 1890 1910 1930 1950 1966 



FARMS AND LAND IN FARMS 

UNO IN FARMS (Mil. ACRES) 



NUMIER OF FARMS (MIL. 




1870 1890 1910 1930 1950 1966 



DEPARTMENT Of 



J S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 



TICAl REPORTING SERVICE 



U. S. POPULATION BY RESIDENCE 

POPULATION (MIL.) 



200 



150 



100 



50 



Total C. S. population 



URBAN 



jLn , ,» u»ni mrtrdp*r ZZZZZ!ZJXZX 



RURAL FARM 



1870 1890 



DEPAR1MENT Of AGRICU 



1910 



1930 



I 



1950 1966 



(SI STATISTICAL REPORTING SERVICE 



112 



Picture 


Page 


No. 


Chart 


105 


DN-3068 


Newton and staff 


114 


2085C 


Olmsted and staff 


115 


BN 33076 


WWI crop report 


115 


BN 33074 


Agr. Statisticians Conference 1917: 






Top 


116 


BN 33078 


Center 




BN 33075 


Bottom 




BN 33077 


Estabrook and board 


118 


BN 33079 


Statistical class, 1928 


118 


BN 33080 


Conference of Agricultural Statisticians 


119 


BN 33081 


Callander and board 


120 


BN 33082 


Brannan signs crop report 


120 


N 11170 


1962 Crop Reporting Board 


121 


BN 33083 


Bollman 


122 


BN 33071 


Dodge 


122 


BN 33253 


Hays 


122 


BN 33085 


Olmsted 


122 


BN 33084 


Clark 


123 


3407C 


Estabrook 


123 


BN 33086 


Murray 


123 


BN 33087 


Callander 


123 


BN 417 


Becker 


124 


BN 239 


Koenig 


124 


BN 7059 


Newell 


124 


BN 388 


Simpson 


124 


BN 33072 


Trelogan 


125 


BN 33073 



113 




114 







Victor H. Olmsted and staff, 1910. Left to right: Nat C. Murray, W. C. Duncan, V. H. Olmsted, John J. Darg, 
George K. Holmes. 




The crop report was exciting news during World War I. Secretary of Agriculture Meredith looks on from far 
right, and Chief Statistician Estabrook from the stairs. 

115 




116 



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117 




Leon Estabrook and Board members, 1921. Left to right: George K. Holmes, Charles Gage, Leon Estabrook, Frank 
Andrews, Edward Crane, and Nat C. Murray. 




Statistical class of 1928. Front row, left to right: Mrs. Ward, D.C.; C. D. Stevens, New England; J. J. Dennee, 
Oregon; J. A. Becker, D.C.; M. R. Wells, Arizona; C. F. Sarle, D.C.; N. I. Nielsen, California; J. H. Jacobson, 
Idaho; F. 0. Black, South Carolina; P. L. Koenig, Pennsylvania; G. S. Ray, Ohio; H. M. Taylor, Virginia; (Un- 
known). Second row, left to right: C. L. Harlan, D.C.; V. C. Childs, Georgia; C. E. Gage, D.C.; A. J. Surratt, 
Illinois; J. B. Shepard, D.C.; V. H. Church, Michigan; J. G. Diamond, Montana; C. G. Carpenter, D.C.; S. A. 
Jones, D.C. Back row, left to right: P. S. Newman, South Dakota; S. R. Newell, Maryland; F. K. Reed, Kansas; 
C. H. Robinson, Texas; R. L. Gillett, New York; (Unknown). 



118 




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W. F. Callander and Board members, 1938. Left to right: Joe Orr, W. F. Callander, Asa Tuttle, Jerry Borum, John 
A. Hicks, R. K. Smith, and Hubert Collins. 




Secretary Charles F. Brannan signs a crop report, 1950. S. R. Newell, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Agricul- 
tural Economics and Chairman of the Crop Reporting Board (seated, right) watches the signing, as do members 
of the Board (left to right) : R. S. Royston, C. E. Burkhead, H. V. Edwards (Illinois), M. M. Justin (Indiana), 
D. D. Pittman, H. R. Walker, R. F. Gurtz, F. V. Graham (South Dakota), R. K. Smith, and E. C. Paxton 
(Utah). 



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121 



HEADS OF AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS 





Lewis Bollman, 1863-65 



Jacob Richards Dodge, 1866-78; 1881-93 




Willet Hays, (also Assistant Secretary of Agriculture), 
1905-06 



Victor H. Olmsted, 1906-07; 1909-1" 



122 





Charles C. Clark, 1907-09 



Leon M. Estabrook, 1913-21 





Nat C. Murray, 1921-22 



William F. Callander, 1923-35; 1937-42; 1946-49 

123 






\ 




Joseph A. Becker, 1935-37 



Paul L. Koenig, 1942-46 





Sterling R. Newell, 1950-61 



Glenn D. Simpson, Deputy Administrator and Chair- 
man, Crop Reporting Board, 1961- 



124 




Harry C. Trelogan, Administrator, 1961- 

CHAPTER 12. A CHRONOLOGY OF 

DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRESS, 

1866-1966 

Crop and Livestock Estimates 

1825 Erie Canal completed — accelerated migration 
and development of new agricultural lands in 
western New York and Ohio Valley 

1830 The beginning of the railroad era foreshad- 
owed the decline of canals & speedup of agri- 
cultural production in the Mississippi Valley 
and later the Great Plains 

1836 U.S. Patent Office established as a separate 
bureau and Henry Ellsworth appointed Com- 
missioner 

1837 Steel plows manufactured by John Deere 

1839 Ellsworth obtained $1,000 appropriation in the 
Patent Office fund for "the collection of statistics 
and distribution of seed" 

1840 President Van Buren's proposal to establish a 
Bureau of Agriculture, resulted in inclusion of 
agricultural data in the Census of 1840 

1841 Ellsworth issued first crop report, based on 
Census of 1840 



1848 Patent Office stopped making crop reports 
1855 James T. Earle, President of the Maryland 
State Agricultural Society, proposed to State 
agricultural societies that they appoint men in 
each county to report on crops, and that these 
reports be summarized by interested offices and 
made available to all societies 
1858 Orange Judd, Editor of "The American Agri- 
culturalist" solicited comments on crop condi- 
tions from subscribers and published his ap- 
praisal of crop conditions. In 1862, specific ques- 
tionnaires were sent to persons selected as crop 
reporters 

1862 U.S. Department of Agriculture established, 
May 15. Land Grant College Act and Home- 
stead Act approved 

1863 USDA Division of Statistics established and 
Lewis Bollman appointed Chief. Issue of month- 
ly reports of information on condition of crops 
started in July 

1865 Civil War ended April 9 

1866 Beginning of continuous series of annual sta- 
tistics on production of major crops, livestock 
numbers, and annual farm prices 

1867 First chapter of National Grange organized, fol- 
lowed by Farmers Union in 1902 and American 
Farm Bureau Federation in 1920 

1875 First State agricultural experiment station es- 
tablished at Wesleyan University at Middle- 
town, Connecticut 

1878 Dodge resigned to take charge of agricul- 
tural statistics for the Tenth Census (1880). 
Charles Worthington appointed Chief Statis- 
tician 

1882 Part-time State statistical agents appointed un- 
der the direction of the Division of Statistics. 
These officers were required to develop and 
maintain an independent corps of voluntary 
crop reporters, who would report to the State 
agent 

Office established in London to report on Eu- 
ropean crop prospects and other information 
pertinent to USDA work 

1883 Pendleton Civil Service Act approved January 
16 

1885 International Institute of Statistics established 

1887 Hatch Experiment Stations Act approved March 
2; provided for Federal Grants to States for 
agricultural experimentation 

1893 Jacob R. Dodge retired after 30 years of service. 
Henry Robinson appointed Chief Statistician 

1896 Voluntary crop reporter list expanded. The new 
list was known as the "township list" because 
the objective was to get at least one reporter 
for each agricultural township. The reports were 
mailed directly to Washington 

Rural free delivery of mail started 



125 



1897 John Hyde appointed Chief Statistician 

1898 Industrial Commission appointed to recommend 
legislation to meet problems of agriculture, la- 
bor, and capital 

Additional State statistical agents appointed and 
the beginning of the buildup of traveling Sta- 
tistical Assistants to cover a group of States, 
observe agricultural conditions, and provide 
some coordination of the State statistical 
agents 

1899 Publication of USDA "Crop Reporter" began 

1902 Division of Statistics, in cooperation with the 
Minnesota Experiment Station, began collection 
of cost of production statistics on selected farms 
to assist with farm management studies 

1903 Organization of the Bureau of Statistics. The 
Chief Statistician became Chief of the Bureau, 
which consisted of the Division of Domestic 
Crop Reports, Division of Foreign Markets, and 
a Miscellaneous Division 

1905 Chief Statistician Hyde resigned. Willet M. 
Hays, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, desig- 
nated to take charge of the Bureau of Statistics; 
Victor Olmsted designated as Associate Chief 
of the Bureau 

Crop Reporting Board created 

1906 Victor Olmsted named as Chief of the Bureau 
and Chairman of the Crop Reporting Board 

1907 Business depression 

1908 Beginning of monthly collection of prices re- 
ceived by farmers for agricultural commod- 
ities 



1909 



International Institute 
pleted organization 



of Agriculture corn- 



Laws applicable to Government workers passed 
(1) making premature disclosure of crop esti- 
mates, issuance of false reports, and specula- 
tion in products of the soil a crime; (2) setting 
forth contents of monthly crop reports, time of 
issuance, and requiring formal approval of the 
Secretary before issuance 

Beginning of continuous series of wages paid 
hired farm labor 

1910 Collection of annual data on prices paid by 
farmers for 74 commodities bought was begun. 
Publication of first monthly index of prices re- 
ceived by farmers for 10 crops 

1911 Beginning of collection of individual farm re- 
ports for estimating acreage 

Beginning of quantitative production forecasts 
during the growing season for major crops ex- 
cept cotton 

1913 Office of Markets established May 16. The Ap- 
propriation Act, approved by the President on 



March 4, making appropriations for fiscal year 
1914, included $50,000 to acquire and diffuse 
among people of the United States useful in- 
formation on subjects connected with the mar- 
keting distribution of farm products, with $10,- 
000 made available immediately 

1914 Bureau of Statistics reorganized and renamed 
Bureau of Crop Estimates. The Part-time State 
Statistical Agents and special regional field 
agents abolished. State Statistical Agents were 
established as full-time jobs under the Federal 
civil service 

Leon M. Estabrook appointed Chief of the Bu- 
reau and Chairman of the Crop Reporting 
Board 

Commercial vegetable estimates started with re- 
ports on cabbage and onions. Cold storage re- 
ports on apples were begun on December 1. 
Smith-Lever Act, which provided Federal funds 
for cooperation with the States on a program 
of agricultural extension work, was passed. 
World War I started in Europe August 1. Ur- 
gent demand developed for more statistics on a 
wide range of subjects 

1915 Beginning of cotton production forecasts during 
the growing season 

First U.S. Department of Agriculture market 
news report was issued (on strawberries) at 
Hammond, La. 

1917 Market news reports on livestock and meat 
started 

U.S. entered World War I, April 6 

August 10 — United States Food Administration 

established 

August 30 — Wheat price set at $2.20 per bushel; 
June 21, 1918, raised to $2.30 

September 1 — Grain Corporation of Food Ad- 
ministration began operations 

November 13 — Food Administration announced 
hog price support based on corn price 

Bureau of Crop Estimates entered "'nto first for- 
mal agreement with Wisconsin for operation of 
the cooperative Federal-State Crop Reporting 
Service 

1918 World War I armistice signed November 11 

1919 Commercial potato estimates provided for 
monthly stock reports 

Field counts made in South Carolina by the 
State Statistician to develop a more objective 
basis for determining acreage changes of crops. 
Data collected on poultry numbers 

1920 Sharp decline in prices of agricultural com- 
modities 



126 



1921 Bureau of Markets merged with Bureau of 
Crop Estimates to become Bureau of Markets 
and Crop Estimates. Henry C. Taylor appointed 
Chief. Leon Estabrook made associate chief and 
continued to act as Chairman of the Crop Re- 
porting Board. Nat C. Murray named Chief 
of Division of Crop Estimates 

1922 Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates merged 
with Office of Farm Management to form the 
Bureau of Agricultural Economics with H. C. 
Taylor, Chief 

Division of Crop Estimates and the Crop Re- 
porting Board became the Division of Crop and 
Livestock Estimates of the Bureau of Agricul- 
tural Economics 

The Division of Records and Research became 
a part of the Division of Statistical and His- 
torical Research of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics 

Bureau of Agricultural Economics continued a 
number of the commodity divisions transferred 
from the Bureau of Markets 

Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates in 
cooperation with the Post Office Department se- 
cured assistance of rural mail carriers in mak- 
ing first Pig Crop survey 

1923 Nat C. Murray resigned and William F. Cal- 
lander named Chief of Division of Crop and 
Livestock Estimates. William A Schoenfield, As- 
sistant Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics, was designated Chairman of the 
Crop Reporting Board and served in that ca- 
pacity until September, 1924, when Callander 
was designated Chairman 

Livestock reporting work reorganized and ex- 
panded 

Farmers' intention-to-plant reports started in 
April 

The "crop meter," a device attached to an auto- 
mobile, was invented by the State statistician 
in Mississippi as a device to measure the front- 
age of crops along representative highways 
from which independent indications of acreage 
change could be derived 

First annual Outlook Conference held in April 

1924 Rural carrier collection of questionnaires on 
acreage started 

1925 First quinquennial agricultural census taken. 
Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates made 
responsible for field operations 

1926 Quarterly estimates of farm stocks of grain 
started 

1927 Decentralization of data collection started with 
discontinuance of dual inquiries from Washing- 



ton and transfer of all mailing lists to the 
States 

Beginning of systematic in-service training of 
statisticians with intensive 6-week statistical 
course in Washington for a group of young 
statisticians. This plan was expanded in 1928, 

1929 for State Statisticians in Charge and in 

1930 for Assistant State Statisticians 

1928 Beginning of systematic attempt to secure ob- 
jective measures for forecasting yield started 
with field counts of cotton 

1929 Practical application of regression approach to 
interpretation of condition reports for crop fore- 
casting and beginning of abandonment of the 
"par method". Use of weather-crop relations 
for yield forecasting was projected 

The Great Depression began with stock market 
crash on October 29 

Federal Farm Board established under the 
Agricultural Marketing Act approved June 15. 
Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates called 
on for much assistance in consultation and pre- 
paring special statistics and analysis 

1932 Decentralization of reporting lists to State Sta- 
tisticians' offices practically completed. By this 
time the Division of Crop and Livestock Esti- 
mates had become a fully decentralized organi- 
zation 

1933 Banks closed in March. Gold called in 
Agricultural Adjustment Act approved May 12 

Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates called 
on to assist in setting up the organization for 
handling contracts, records, and providing spe- 
cial statistical basis for allotments for basic 
crops. Field statisticians and Washington staff 
called on to review acreage figures submitted 
through AAA office and make adjustments in 
total acreages and hog numbers, by counties 

Price series were expanded and parity prices 
computed 

1934 Great drought in Corn Belt and Great Plains 
lasted from 1934 to 1936 necessitating many 
special services: mid-month crop forecasts, de- 
termination of feed needs, allocation of feed, 
movement of cattle out of drought areas, etc. 

1935 Joseph A. Becker appointed Chief of Division 
and Chairman of the Board when Callander left 
to take a position with the Agricultural Adjust- 
ment Administration. Crop and Livestock Esti- 
mates relieved of review and adjustment of in- 
dividual allotment basis but continued to pro- 
vide county estimates and staff members served 
as consultants to AAA and directed special 
surveys 



127 



1936 Agricultural statistics had become such a large 
part of the Department yearbook, that they were 
made a separate volume, Agricultural Statistics 

1937 Callander returned as Chief of Division of Crop 
and Livestock Estimates and Chairman of the 
Crop Reporting Board 

1938 Federal Crop Insurance Corporation established 
February 16. Agricultural Statistics Division 
provided special crop estimates by counties for 
the use of insurance districts in establishing 
rates of insurance on individual crops 

1939 Reorganization of Department established the 
first Agricultural Marketing Service 

Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates trans- 
ferred to the Agricultural Marketing Service 
and name changed to Division of Agricultural 
Statistics, and assigned responsibility for: seed 
statistics of the Hay, Feed, and Seed Division; 
statistics on hatchery production, manufactured 
dairy products, and fluid milk statistics of the 
Dairy and Poultry Division; and reports on 
cold storage holdings that had been under the 
office of the Chief of the Bureau 

World War II started in Europe September 1 

1940 National Defense Advisory Commission estab- 
lished May 28 

Division of Agricultural Statistics called upon 
for statistics and assistance on special studies 
of (1) inventory of farm products and proc- 
essing facilities, (2) probable requirements un- 
der each of several war defense situations, and 
(3) anticipated problems of production, proc- 
essing, and distribution 

1941 Agricultural Division of the National Defense 
Advisory Commission transferred to USDA. 
Work on production goals assigned to BAE in 
preparing the analysis and establishing produc- 
tion goals that were announced by Secretary 
Wickard July 17 

Chicago Dairy office established for weekly re- 
ports on butter, cheese, and other dairy reports 
Pearl Harbor, December 7 

1942 Division of Agricultural Statistics except Cold 
Storage section transferred to Bureau of Agri- 
cultural Economics 

Paul Koenig appointed Chief of the Division 
and Joseph A. Becker named Chairman of the 
Crop Reporting Board when Callander trans- 
ferred to position of Statistician in Charge of 
Florida 

Participation of the U.S. in World War II and 
extending thru 1945 brought many demands for 
expanded statistical programs. Many special 
enumerative surveys were made, special crop 
reports and much greater emphasis was placed 
on price reporting work 



1943 Quarterly reports on estimates of stocks of grain 
in all positions were initiated 

Chicago dairy office of the Division of Agri- 
cultural Statistics became coordination center 
for all war time reports on the dairy industry 

1944 Becker transferred to Foreign Agriculture and 
Paul Koenig named Chairman of the Crop Re- 
porting Board 

1945 Germany surrendered May 7 and Japan Au- 
gust 14 

Bureau of Agricultural Economics reorganized 
December 31 

Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics 
was authorized to appoint four Assistant Chiefs 
with responsibility for specific subject areas. 
One Assistant Chief was placed in charge of 
agricultural statistics work and was designated 
Chairman of the Crop Reporting Board 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
United Nations formally organized Oct. 16 

1946 Callander returned from position as Statis- 
tician in Charge in Florida and was appointed 
Assistant Chief of BAE for Agricultural Esti- 
mates and Chairman of the Crop Reporting 
Board 

Special Farm Statistics Division organized to 
make enumerative surveys on farm labor, hous- 
ing, and other special subjects 

Research and Marketing Act of 1946 passed — 
provided for grants-in-aid to State Department 
of Agriculture on the basis of equal matching of 
State and Federal Funds for projects in the 
field of agricultural marketing 

1947 Cooperative projects authorized by the Research 
and Marketing Act began in a number of States 
to provide special statistical information cover- 
ing local needs for county and local market 
areas. County estimates of production, pig crop 
reports, cattle-on-feed reports, local area truck 
crop reports, and many other services were added 

1950 Callander retired. Sterling R. Newell appointed 
Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics for Agricultural Estimates and Chair- 
man of the Crop Reporting Board 

1952 Congressional report of an investigation of agri- 
cultural estimates work by a special Subcom- 
mittee of the House Agriculture Committee, rec- 
ommended strengthening of the reporting serv- 
ice, particularly by providing funds for re- 
search into methods for developing and improv- 
ing statistical techniques 

First appropriation of $250,000 for methodolog- 
ical research provided in Appropriation Act of 
1952 for the fiscal year 1953. Research Staff 
established 



128 



1953 Reorganization of the Department. The Produc- 
tion & Marketing Administration was abolished, 
and part of its activities transferred to the re- 
established Agricultural Marketing Service. At 
the same time the Bureau of Agricultural Eco- 
nomics was discontinued, but part of its work 
was organized in several divisions of the Agri- 
cultural Marketing Service 

The crop and livestock estimating activities be- 
came the Division of Agricultural Estimates 
and S. R. Newell named as Director and Chair- 
man of the Crop Reporting Board 

Cold Storage reports transferred from the Pro- 
duction and Marketing Administration to the 
Agricultural Estimates Division 

Subcommittee on Agricultural Appropriations 
of the House Appropriations Committee re- 
quested the Administrator of the Agricultural 
Marketing Service to prepare and submit a 
long-range plan for strengthening the crop and 
livestock reporting service that would meet the 
needs of the Nation 

1954 June Enumerative Survey started on research 
basis in 10 States, 100 counties and 703 seg- 
ments 

Objective Yield Surveys made on cotton in 10 
States, 76 counties and 200 sample units 

1955 First offshore statistical office established in the 
Territory of Hawaii at Honolulu 

1956 Farm Expenditure Survey made in 48 States, 
300 counties, and 10,720 farms 

1957 Report on "A Program for the Development of 
the Agricultural Estimating Service" was pre- 
sented to the Subcommittee on Agricultural Ap- 
propriations of the House Appropriations Com- 
mittee by the Director of the Agricultural Esti- 
mates Division in February 

1960 Alaska office opened at Palmer, Alaska 

1961 Departmental reorganization — Statistical Re- 
porting Service established with a Division of 
Field Operations, Division of Agricultural Esti- 
mates and Division of Standards and Research. 
Harry C. Trelogan appointed Administrator. 
S. R. Newell appointed Deputy Administrator 
and Chairman of the Crop Reporting Board 
Congress appropriated $750,000 as "the first 
increment on the long-range plan to be followed 
by later increases to meet the needs within 3 or 
4 years" 

1962 S. R. Newell retired. Glenn D. Simpson ap- 
pointed Deputy Administrator and Chairman 
of the Crop Reporting Board 

1966 Washington Data Processing Center established 
in South Building, consolidating units scattered 
in several D.C. locations 



CHAPTER 13. HEADS OF AGRICULTURAL 
STATISTICS 

Division of Statistics — (1863-1903) 

Lewis Bollman (1863-65) 
Jacob R. Dodge (1866-78) 
Charles Worthington (1879-81) 
Jacob R. Dodge (1881-93) 
Henry A. Robinson (1893-97) 

Bureau of Statistics (1903-13) 

John Hyde (1897-1905) 

Willet M. Hays (also Assistant Secretary) 

(1905-6) 
Victor Olmsted (1906-7) 
C. C. Clark (Acting) (1907-9) 
Victor Olmsted (1909-13) 
Nat C. Murray (Acting) (1913) 

Bureau of Crop Estimates (1914-21) 
Leon M. Estabrook (1913-21) 

Division of Crop Estimates (1921-22) 

Of the Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates 

Nat C. Murray (1921-22) 

Division of Crop and Livestock Estimates (1922-39) 

Bureau of Agricultural Economics 

W. F. Callander (1923-35) 
Joseph A. Becker (1935-37) 
W. F. Callander (1937-39) 

Division of Agricultural Statistics (1939-42) 
Of the Agricultural Marketing Service 

W. F. Callander (1939-42) 

Division of Agricultural Statistics (1942-53) 
Of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics 

Paul L. Koenig (1942-46) 
W. F. Callander (1946-50) 
S. R. Newell (1950-53) 

Agricultural Estimates Division (1953-61) 
Of the Agricultural Marketing Service 

S. R. Newell (1953-61) 
Statistical Reporting Service (1961- ) 

H. C. Trelogan, Administrator (1961- ) 
S. R. Newell, Deputy Administrator and Chair- 
man, Crop Reporting Board (1961-62) 

Glenn D. Simpson, Deputy Administrator and 
Chairman, Crop Reporting Board (1962- ) 

CHAPTER 14. STATUTES ESTABLISHING 

AND ENLARGING THE DEPARTMENT OF 

AGRICULTURE 

AN ACT to establish a Department of Agriculture ,s 



18 Thirty-Seventh Congress of the United States at 
the Second Session. 



129 



BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States of Ameriea in Congress 
assembled, That there is hereby established at the seat 
of Government of the United States a Department of 
Agriculture, the general designs and duties of which 
shall be to acquire and diffuse among the people of 
the United States useful information on subjects con- 
nected with agriculture in the most general and com- 
prehensive sense of that word, and to procure, propa- 
gate, and distribute among the people new and valu- 
able seeds and plants. 

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That there shall 
be appointed by the President, by and with the advice 
and consent of the Senate, a "Commissioner of Agri- 
culture," who shall be the chief executive officer of 
the Department of Agriculture, who shall hold his 
office by tenure similar to that of other civil officers 
appointed by the President, and who shall receive for 
his compensation a salary of three thousand dollars 
per annum. 

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be 
the duty of the Commissioner of Agriculture to ac- 
quire and preserve in his Department all information 
concerning agriculture which he can obtain by means 
of books and correspondence, and by practical and 
scientific experiments, (accurate records of which ex- 
periments shall be kept in his office,) by the collection 
of statistics, and by any other appropriate means 
within his power; to collect, as he may be able, new and 
valuable seeds and plants; to test, by cultivation, the 
value of such of them as may require such tests; to 
propagate such as may be worthy of propagation, and 
to distribute them among agriculturists. He shall an- 
nually make a general report in writing of his acts 
to the President and to Congress, in which he may 
recommend the publication of papers forming parts 
of or accompanying his report, which report shall also 
contain an account of all moneys received and ex- 
pended by him. He shall also make special reports on 
particular subjects whenever required to do so by the 
President or either House of Congress, or when he shall 
think the subject in his charge requires it. He shall 
receive and have charge of all the property of the 
Agricultural Division of the Patent Office in the De- 
partment of the Interior, including the fixtures and 
property of the propagating garden. He shall direct 
and superintend the expenditure of all money appro- 
priated by Congress to the Department, and render 
accounts thereof, and also of all money heretofore ap- 
propriated for agriculture and remaining unexpended. 
And said Commissioner may send and receive through 
the mails, free of charge, all communications and other 
matter pertaining to the business of his Department, 
not exceeding in weight thirty-two ounces. 

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the Com- 
missioner of Agriculture shall appoint a chief clerk, 
with a salary of two thousand dollars, who in all 
cases during the necessary absence of the Commission- 
er, or when the said principal office shall be vacant, 
shall perform the duties of the Commissioner, and he 
shall appoint such other employees as Congress may 



from time to time provide with salaries corresponding 
to the salaries of similar officers in other Depart- 
ments of the Government; and he shall, as Congress 
may from time to time provide, employ other persons, 
for such time as their services may be needed, in- 
cluding chemists, botanists, entomologists, and other 
persons skilled in the natural sciences pertaining to 
agriculture. And the said commissioner, and every 
other person to be appointed in the said Department, 
shall, before he enters upon the duties of his office or 
appointment, make oath or affirmation truly and faith- 
fully to execute the trust committed to him. And the 
said Commissioner and the chief clerk shall also, be- 
fore entering upon their duties, severally give bonds 
to the Treasurer of the United States, the former in 
the sum of ten thousand dollars, and the latter in the 
sum of five thousand dollars, conditional to render a 
true and faithful account to him or his successor in 
office, quarter-yearly accounts of all moneys which shall 
be by them received by virtue of the said office, with 
sureties to be approved as sufficient by the Solicitor 
of the Treasury; which bonds shall be filed in the 
office of the First Comptroller of the Treasury, to be 
by him put in suit upon any breach of the conditions 
thereof. 

Galusha A. Grow 

Speaker of the House of Representatives 

Solomon Foot 

President of the Senate pro tempore 

Approved May 15, 1862 

Abraham Lincoln 

AN ACT to enlarge the powers and duties of the 
Department of Agriculture and to create an Executive 
Department to be known as the Department of Agri- 
culture. 10 

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States of America in Congress 
assembled, That the Department of Agriculture shall 
be an Executive Department, under the supervision 
and control of a Secretary of Agriculture, who shall 
be appointed by the President, by and with the advice 
and consent of the Senate; and section one hundred 
and fifty-eight of the Revised Statutes is hereby 
amended to include such Department, and the provi- 
sions of title four of the Revised Statutes, including 
all amendments, are hereby made applicable to said 
Department. 

Sec. 2. That there shall be in said Department an 
Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, to be appointed by 
the President, by and with the advice and consent of 
the Senate, who shall perform such duties as may be 
required by law or prescribed by the Secretary. 

Sec. 3. That the Secretary of Agriculture shall re- 
ceive the same salary as is paid to the Secretary of 
each of the Executive Departments, and the salary of 



"Fiftieth Congress of the United States at the 
Second Session. 



130 



the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture shall be the 
same as that now paid to the First Assistant Secre- 
tary of the Department of the Interior. 

Sec. 4. That all laws or parts of laws relating to 
the Department of Agriculture now in existence, as 
far as the same are applicable and not in conflict with 
this act, and only so far, are continued in full force 
and effect. 

John G. Carlisle 

Speaker of the House of Representatives 

John J. Ingalls 

President of the Senate pro tempore 

Approved February 9, 1889 

Grover Cleveland 

CHAPTER 15. LAWS GOVERNING CROP 
REPORTS 

(All references are to United States Code) 

General 

Title 5, Section 51 1 

Establishment of Department. — -There shall be at 
the seat of government a Department of Agriculture, 
the general design and duties of which shall be to 
acquire and to diffuse among the people of the United 
States useful information on subjects connected with 
agriculture, in the most general and comprehensive 
sense of that word, and to procure, propagate, and 
distribute among the people new and valuable seeds 
and plants. (R.S. § 520) (5 U.S.C. 511) 

Title 5, Section 514 

General duties of Secretary. — The Secretary of Agri- 
culture shall procure and preserve all information con- 
cerning agriculture which he can obtain by means of 
books and correspondence, and by practical and scien- 
tific experiments, accurate records of which experi- 
ments shall be kept in his office, by the collection of 
statistics, and by any other appropriate means within 
his power; he shall collect new and valuable seeds and 
plants; shall test, by cultivation, the value of such of 
them as may require such tests; shall propagate such 
as may be worthy of propagation ; and shall distribute 
them among agriculturists. (R.S. § 526) (5 U.S.C. 
514). 

Title 7, Section 41 la 

Monthly crop report; contents; issuance; approval 
by Secretary of Agriculture. — The monthly crop re- 
port, which shall be gathered as far as practicable 
from practical farmers, shall be printed and distrib- 
uted on or before the twelfth day of each month, and 
shall embrace statements of the conditions of crops by 
States, in the United States, with such explanations, 
comparisons, and information as may be useful for 
illustrating the above matter, and it shall be submitted 



to and officially approved by the Secretary of Agricul- 
ture, before being issued or published. Mar. 4, 1909, 
c. 301, 35 Stat. 1053; Mar. 4, 1917, c. 179, 39 Stat. 1157 
(7 U.S.C. 411a). 

Title 18, Section 1902 

Disclosure of crop information and speculation there- 
on. — Whoever, being an officer, employee or person act- 
ing for or on behalf of the United States or any de- 
partment or agency thereof, and having by virtue of 
his office, employment or position, become possessed of 
information which might influence or affect the market 
value of any product of the soil grown within the 
United States, which information is by law or by the 
rules of such department or agency required to be 
withheld from publication until a fixed time, willfully 
imparts, directly or indirectly, such information, or 
any part thereof, to any person not entitled under the 
law or the rules of the department or agency to re- 
ceive the same; or, before such information is made 
public through regular official channels, directly or in- 
directly speculates in any such product by buying or 
selling the same in any quantity, shall be fined not 
more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten 
years, or both. 

No person shall be deemed guilty of a violation of 
any such rules, unless prior to such alleged violation 
he shall have had actual knowledge thereof. June 25, 
1948, c. 645, § 1, 62 Stat. 790. (18 U.S.C. 1902.) 

Title 18, Section 2072 

False crop reports. — Whoever, being an officer or 
employee of the United States or any of its agencies, 
whose duties require the compilation or report of sta- 
tistics or information relating to the products of the 
soil, knowingly compiles for issuance, or issues, any 
false statistics or information as a report of the 
United States or any of its agencies, shall be fined 
not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than five 
years, or both. June 25, 1948, c. 645, § 1, 62 Stat. 795. 
(18 U.S.C. 2072). 

Cotton 

Title 7, Section 471 

Statistics and estimates of grades and staple length 
of cotton; collection and publication. — The Secretary of 
Agriculture is authorized and directed to collect and 
publish annually, on dates to be announced by him, 
statistics or estimates concerning the grades and staple 
length of stocks of cotton, known as the carry-over, on 
hand on the 1st of August of each year in warehouses 
and other establishments of every character in the con- 
tinental United States; and following such publication 
each year, to publish, at intervals in his discretion, his 
estimate of the grades and staple length of cotton of 
the then current crop: Provided, That not less than 
three such estimates shall be published with respect to 
each crop. In any such statistics or estimates published, 
the cotton which on the date for which such statistics 
are published may be recognized as tenderable on con- 
tracts of sale of cotton for future delivery under the 



131 



United States Cotton Futures Act, shall be stated sepa- 
rately from that which may be untenderable under said 
act. (Mar. 3, 1927, c. 337, § 1, 44 Stat. 1372.) 

Title 7, Section 475 

Cotton crop reports. — The Secretary of Agriculture 
shall cause to be issued as of the first of each month 
during the cotton growing and harvesting season from 
August to December inclusive, reports describing the 
condition and progress of the crop and stating the 
probable number of bales which will be ginned, these 
reports to be issued simultaneously with the cotton- 
ginning reports of the Bureau of the Census relating to 
the same dates, the two reports to be issued from the 
same place at 11 o'clock antemeridian of the eighth day 
following that to which the respective reports relate. 
When such date of release falls on Sunday, a legal 
holiday, or other day, which pursuant to statute or 
Executive order is a nonworkday in the Department of 
Agriculture at Washington generally, the report shall 
be issued at 11 o'clock antemeridian of the next succeed- 
ing workday. No such report shall be approved and re- 
leased by the Secretary of Agriculture until it shall 
have been passed upon by a cotton-crop reporting com- 
mittee or board consisting of five members or more to 
be designated by him, not less than three of which shall 
be supervisory field statisticians of the Department of 
Agriculture located in different sections of the cotton- 
growing States, experienced in estimating cotton pro- 
duction and who shall have first hand knowledge of the 
condition of the cotton crop based upon recent field 
observations, and the majority of which committee or 
board shall be familiar with the methods and practices 
of producing cotton. May 3, 1924, c. 149, Sec. 1, 43 
Stat. 115; Mar. 3, 1927, c. 337, Sec. 5, 44 Stat. 1373; 
Aug. 8, 1946, c. 909, 60 Stat. 940; May 29, 1958, Sec. 2, 
72 Stat. 149. (7 U.S.C. 475). 

Title 7, Section 476 

Acreage reports. — The Secretary of Agriculture shall 
cause to be issued a report on or before the 10th day of 
July of each year showing by States and in toto the 
estimated acreage of cotton planted, to be followed on 
August 1 with an estimate of the acreage for harvest 
and December 1 with an estimate of the harvested 
acreage. May 27, 1912, c. 135, Sec. 1, 37 Stat. 118; 
Mar. 3, 1927, c. 337, Sec. 6, 44 Stat. 1374; May 29, 
1958, Sec. 1, 72 Stat. 149. (7 U.S.C. 476). 

Title 12, Section 1141j(d) 

Governmental publication; predictions as to cotton 
prices prohibited. — The inclusion in any governmental 
report, bulletin, or other such publication hereafter is- 
sued or published of any prediction with respect to 
cotton prices is prohibited. Any officer or employee of 
the United States who authorizes or is responsible for 
the inclusion in any such report, bulletin, or other pub- 
lication of any such prediction, or who knowingly 
causes the issuance or publication of any such report, 
bulletin, or other publication containing any such pre- 
diction, shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not less 
than $500 or more than $5,000, or imprisoned for not 



more than five years, or both: Provided, That this sub- 
division shall not apply to the Governor of the Farm 
Credit Administration when engaged in the perform- 
ance of his duties herein provided. June 15, 1929, c. 24, 
Sec. 15, 46 Stat. 18 (12 U.S.C. 1141j(d)). 

Annual appropriation acts contain a similar prohibi- 
tion in this form, "No part of the funds appropriated 
by this Act shall be used for the payment of any officer 
or employee of the Department who, as such officer or 
employee, or on behalf of the Department of any divis- 
ion, commission, or bureau thereof, issues, or causes to 
be issued, any prediction, oral or written, or forecast, 
except as to damage threatened or caused by insects 
and pests, with respect to future prices of cotton or the 
trend of same." Pub. L. 87-879, Oct. 24, 1962. 

Title 13, Section 42 

Contents of reports; number of bales of linter; dis- 
tribution; publication by Department of Agriculture. — 
(a) The statistics of the quantity of cotton ginned shall 
show the quantity ginned from each crop prior to Aug- 
ust 1, August 16, September 1, September 16, October 
1, October 18, November 1, November 14, December 1, 
December 13, January 16, and March 1; but the Secre- 
tary may limit the canvasses of August 1 and August 
16 to those sections of the cotton-growing States in 
which cotton has been ginned. 

(b) The quantity of cotton consumed in manufactur- 
ing establishments, the quantity of baled cotton on 
hand, the number of active consuming cotton spindles, 
the number of active spindle-hours, and the statistics 
of cotton imported and exported shall relate to each 
month, and shall be published as soon as possible after 
the close of the month. 

(c) In collecting and publishing statistics of cotton 
on hand in warehouses and other storage establish- 
ments, and of cotton known as the "carry-over" in the 
United States, the Secretary shall ascertain and pub- 
lish as a separate item in the report of cotton statistics 
the number of bales of linters as distinguished from 
the number of bales of cotton. 

(d) The Secretary shall furnish to the Department 
of Agriculture, immediately prior to the publication of 
each report of that Department regarding the cotton 
crop, the latest available statistics hereinbefore men- 
tioned, and the Department of Agriculture shall pub- 
lish the same in connection with each of its reports 
concerning cotton. Aug. 31, 1954, c. 1158, 1, 68 Stat. 
1016. (13 U.S.C. 42). 

Title 1 3, Section 43 

Records and reports of cotton ginners. — Every cotton 
ginner shall keep a record of the county or parish in 
which each bale of cotton ginned by him is grown and 
report at the March canvass of each year a segregation 
of the total number of bales ginned by counties or 
parishes in which grown. Aug. 31, 1954, c. 1158, 1, 68 
Stat. 1016. (13 U.S.C. 43) 

Title 13, Section 44 

Foreign cotton statistics. — In addition to the infor- 
mation regarding cotton in the United States provided 



132 



for in this subchapter, the Secretary shall compile, by 
correspondence or the use of published reports and doc- 
uments, any available information concerning the pro- 
duction, consumption, and stocks of cotton in foreign 
countries, and the number of cotton-consuming spindles 
in such countries. Each report published by the De- 
partment of Commerce or agency or bureau thereof 
regarding cotton shall contain an abstract of the latest 
available information obtained under the provisions of 
this section, and the Secretary shall furnish the same 
to the Department of Agriculture for publication in 
connection with the reports of that department con- 
cerning cotton in the same manner as in the case of 
statistics relating to the United States. Aug. 31, 1954, 
c. 1158, 1, 68 Stat. 1016. (13 U.S.C. 44). 

Title 13, Section 45 

Simultaneous publication of cotton reports. — The re- 
ports of cotton ginned to the dates as of which the 
Department of Agriculture is also required to issue 
cotton crop reports shall be issued simultaneously with 
the cotton crop reports of that department, the two 
reports to be issued from the same place at 11 o'clock 
antemeridian on the eighth day following that on which 
the respective reports relate. When such date of release 
falls on Sunday, a legal holiday, or other day which 
pursuant to statute or Executive order is a nonworkday 
in the Department of Commerce at Washington gen- 
erally, the reports shall be issued at 11 o'clock anteme- 
ridian of the next succeeding workday. August 31, 1954, 
c. 1158, 1, 68 Stat. 1017. (13 U.S.C. 45). 

Apples 

Title 7, Section 411b 

Estimates of apple production. — Estimates of apple 
production shall be confined to the commercial crop. 
June 30, 1939, c. 253, Title I, 53 Stat. 968; and all 
subsequent annual appropriation acts. 

Naval Stores 

Title 5, Section 556b 

Statistics relating to turpentine and rosin. — The Sec- 
retary of Agriculture is authorized and directed to col- 
lect and/or compile and publish annually, and at such 
other times, and in such form and on such date or dates 
as he shall prescribe, statistics and essential informa- 
tion relating to spirits of turpentine and rosin pro- 
duced, held, and used in the domestic and foreign com- 
merce of the United States. (Aug. 15, 1935, c. 548, 49 
Stat. 653.) (5 U.S.C. 556b). 

Peanuts 

Title 7, Section 951 

Collection and publication; facts required; submis- 
sion of report. — The Secretary of Agriculture is auth- 
orized and directed to collect and publish statistics of 
raw peanuts, shelled, unshelled, and crushed, and peanut 



oil, in the United States, received, processed, shipped, 
and owned by or in the possession of warehousemen, 
brokers, cleaners, shellers, dealers, growers' cooperative 
associations, crushers, salters, manufacturers of peanut 
products, and owners other than the original producers 
of peanuts: Provided, That the Secretary may, in his 
discretion, omit for any period of time to collect such 
statistics from any or all salters of peanuts or manu- 
facturers of peanut products who used, during the 
calendar year preceding that for which statistics 
are being collected, less than thirty thousand pounds of 
shelled and unshelled peanuts. Such statistics shall 
show the quality of peanuts in such details as to kinds 
— Virginia, Runners, Spanish, and imported varie- 
ties — as the Secretary shall deem necessary for the 
purposes of this chapter. All reports except those re- 
quired from persons owning or operating peanut pick- 
ing or threshing machines shall be submitted monthly 
in each year, except as otherwise prescribed by the 
Secretary. June 24, 1936, c. 745, Sec. 1, 49 Stat. 1898; 
May 12, 1938, c. 199, Sec. 1, 52 Stat. 348; July 17, 
1957, Sec. 1, 71 Stat. 306. (7 U.S.C. 951). 

Tobacco 

Title 7, Section 501 

Collection and publication; facts required; deteri- 
orated tobacco. — The Secretary of Agriculture is au- 
thorized and directed to collect and publish statistics 
of the quantity of leaf tobacco in all forms in the 
United States and Puerto Rico, owned by or in the 
possession of dealers, manufacturers, quasi-manufac- 
turers, growers' cooperative associations, warehousemen, 
brokers, holders, or owners, other than the original 
growers of tobacco. The statistics shall show the quan- 
tity of tobacco in such detail as to types, groups of 
grades, and such other subdivisions as to quality, color, 
and/or grade for particular types, as the Secretary of 
Agriculture shall deem to be practical and necessary 
for the purposes of this section and sections 502 to 508 
of this title, shall be summarized as of January 1, 
April 1, July 1, and October 1 of each year, and an 
annual report on tobacco statistics shall be issued: 
Provided, That the Secretary of Agriculture shall not 
be required to collect statistics of leaf tobacco from any 
manufacturer of tobacco who, in the first three quarters 
of the preceding calendar year, according to the re- 
turns of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue or the 
record of the Treasurer of Puerto Rico, manufactured 
less than thirty-five thousand pounds of tobacco, or 
from any manufacturer of cigars who, during the first 
three quarters of the preceding calendar year, manu- 
factured less than one hundred and eighty-five thou- 
sand cigars, or from any manufacturer of cigarettes 
who, during the first three quarters of the preceding 
year, manufactured less than seven hundred and fifty 
thousand cigarettes: And provided further, That the 
Secretary of Agriculture may omit the collection of 
statistics from any dealer, manufacturer, growers' co- 
operative association, warehouseman, broker, holder, or 
owner who does not own and/or have in stock, in the 
aggregate, fifty thousand pounds or more of leaf tobac- 



133 



co on the date as of which the reports are made. For the 
purposes of this section and sections 502 to 508 of this 
title, any tobacco which has deteriorated on account of 
age or other causes to the extent that it is not mer- 
chantable or is unsuitable for use in manufacturing to- 
bacco products shall be classified with other nondescript 
tobacco and reported in the "N" group of the type to 
which it belongs. Jan. 14, 1929, c. 69, § 1, 45 Stat. 
1079; July 14, 1932, c. 480, § 1, 47 Stat. 662; Aug. 27, 
1935, c. 749, § 1, 49 Stat. 893. (7 U.S.C. 501). 

CHAPTER 16. CROP REPORTING 
REGULATIONS 

The official regulations of the Department of Agricul- 
ture concerning the preparation of the agricultural data 
estimates of the Service follow: 

Title 1— General Authorities and Functions 

Chapter 6— Other Authorities and Functions 
Section 1 — Crop Reporting Board 

325. Authorities and Functions. (S) — There shall 
be in the Statistical Reporting Service a Crop Re- 
porting Board, the primary function of which shall be 
to prepare and issue, as provided in paragraph 328 and 
elsewhere in this regulation, the official State and Na- 
tional estimates and reports of the Department relating 
to crop production, livestock and livestock products, 
numbers of livestock on farms, stocks of agricultural 
commodities, local market prices, value of farm pro- 
ducts, and such other subjects as the Administrator of 
the Statistical Reporting Service may direct. Among 
these reports shall be a Monthly Crop Report, which 
shall be issued on or before the 12th of each month 
pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 411a, a Cotton Acreage Report 
to be issued on or before the 10th of July, and the 
Cotton Crop Report to be issued on the 8th day of each 
month from August to December, or, if the 8th day is 
a nonwork day, on the next succeeding workday, pursu- 
ant to 7 U.S.C. 475 and 476. 

326. Definitions. — As used in these regulations, 
"Department" means the United States Department of 
Agriculture, "Service" means the Statistical Reporting 
Service staff engaged in statistical reporting work, and 
"Board" means the Crop Reporting Board. 

327. Organization of Board, a. Chairman. — The 
Deputy Administrator of the Statistical Reporting 
Service is the Chairman of the Board. He shall call and 
preside over all meetings of the Board. As Deputy Ad- 
ministrator of the Statistical Reporting Service, he 
shall issue the necessary instructions for gathering, 
compiling, and summarizing data for reports specified 
in paragraph 328, and shall approve the statistical 
techniques and procedures to be followed by the Service 
and by the Board in analyzing, interpreting, and re- 
viewing the pertinent data and in preparing the official 
estimates for each report. 

b. Members. — The Chairman shall select the members 
of the Board for each report from the Service. For the 
Monthly Crop Report the Board shall have not less than 
five members in addition to the Chairman, not less than 



two of whom shall be selected from the Service field 
offices. For the Cotton Report the Board shall have not 
less than five members, of whom not less than three 
members shall be supervisory field statisticians located 
in different sections of the cotton growing States, ex- 
perienced in estimating cotton production and who have 
first-hand knowledge of the condition of the cotton crop 
based on recent field observations, and a majority of the 
Board shall be familiar with the methods and practices 
of producing cotton, as provided in the Act of May 3, 
1924, as amended (7 U.S.C. 475). For the Annual Cot- 
ton Crop Summary in May, the Annual Crop Produc- 
tion Summary in December, the Winter Wheat and Rye 
Report as of December 1, the Prospective Plantings 
Report as of March 1, the Annual Livestock Summary 
as of January 1, and the Pig Crop Reports as of June 1 
and December 1, the Board shall consist of not less than 
five members, of whom not less than two shall be se- 
lected from the Service field offices. 

c. Secretary of the Board. — The Board shall have a 
permanent Secretary, who shall be a professional mem- 
ber of the Service in Washington. He shall assist in 
preparing instructions and forms for collecting, com- 
piling, summarizing, and analyzing statistical informa- 
tion for the use of the Board, shall arrange for suitable 
means for transmission of instructions, records, and re- 
ports to and from the field offices, shall maintain rec- 
ords of the information assembled, including a record 
of the official estimates prepared by the Board, and 
shall maintain a file of the signed copies of Board re- 
ports. For each report the Secretary shall assemble 
and collate information for the use of the Board, issue 
proper notices of Board meetings, and make necessary 
arrangements for the preparation, signing, and release 
of reports in such manner and at such times as are 
herein described. 

328. Reports, a. Reports to be approved by the Secre- 
tary of Agriculture. — The following Board reports shall 
be signed by the Chairman, Secretary, and members 
of the Board, and shall be approved by the Secretary 
of Agriculture before being issued or published: 

Monthly Crop Reports, except for February, 
March, and December (see paragraph 325). 

Cotton Reports (see paragraph 325). 

Annual Cotton Crop Summary in May. 

Annual Crop Production Summary in December. 

Winter Wheat and Rye Report as of December 1. 

Prospective Plantings Report as of March 1. 

Annual Livestock Summary as of January 1. 

Pig Crop Reports as of June 1 and December 1. 

b. Other Board reports. — Such other reports as are 
designated by the Chairman shall be prepared and is- 
sued as Board reports. For each such report, the Chair- 
man shall select Board members from the Service in 
such manner and in such numbers as may be deemed 
necessary. Such reports shall be approved by the Chair- 
man or his designee before being issued. 

c. Annual release schedule. — On or before the first 
day of December of each year there shall be prepared a 
schedule for the ensuing year setting forth dates and 
hours of release of all regular statistical reports listed 
in subparagraph "a" above for which the approval of 



134 



the Secretary of Agriculture is required. The schedule 
of reports shall be effective when approved by the 
Secretary of Agriculture and may be amended at any 
time with his approval. Subsequently, there shall also 
be prepared and issued, to the extent possible, an ad- 
vance listing of the reports referred to in subparagraph 
"b" above, together with dates of publication or issu- 
ance. 

329. Collection of Information. — For use in pre- 
paring the official estimates of the Department, in- 
formation relating to agriculture shall be gathered 
through the Washington and field offices of the Service, 
as far as practicable, from practical farmers, as pro- 
vided in 7 U.S.C. 411a; from peanut processors, as pro- 
vided in 7 U.S.C. 951 et seq.; from processors, dealers, 
cooperating State and local officials, agencies in the 
Department: and from other sources. This information 
shall be collected by mailed questionnaire, by sample 
enumeration, by interviews, or by other appropriate 
means (7 U.S.C. 411a, 951). 

330. Information Not To Be Released; Spec- 
ulation; False Statistics, a. Withholding information. 
■ — The contents and every part of the contents of each 
and every report specified in paragraph 328a, and the 
information and every part of the information utilized 
in the preparation of such reports, shall be withheld 
from publication until the day and hour provided for 
the issuance of the reports in the schedule approved by 
the Secretary of Agriculture and amendments thereto. 

b. Access to information. — No member of the Board 
or other persons engaged in the preparation of infor- 
mation for reports, shall, before the release of any 
Board report provided for herein, willfully impart or 
permit access to any information contained therein or 
any part thereof, directly or indirectly, to any person 
not entitled under the law and rules of the Department 
to receive the same. The Chairman may under this 
regulation notify officers in charge of field offices, in 
advance of publication, of changes made by the Board 
from recommendations submitted by such officers for 
nonspeculative items as defined in paragraph 331a (2). 

c. Statutory provisions. 

(1) "Whoever, being an officer, employee or person 
acting for or on behalf of the United States or any 
department or agency thereof, and having by virtue of 
his office, employment or position, become possessed of 
information which might influence or affect the market 
value of any product of the soil grown within the 
United States, which information is by law or by the 
rules of such department or agency required to be 
withheld from publication until a fixed time, willfully 
imparts, directly or indirectly, such information, or 
any part thereof, to any person not entitled under the 
law or the rules of the department or agency to receive 
the same; or, before such information is made public 
through regular official channels, directly or indirectly 
speculates in any such product by buying or selling 
the same in any quantity, shall be fined not more than 
$10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. 

"No person shall be deemed guilty of a violation of 
any such rules, unless prior to such alleged violation 



he shall have had actual knowledge thereof." (June 25, 
1948, ch. 645, sec. 1, 62 Stat. 790, 18 U.S.C. 1902.). 

(2) "Whoever, being an officer or employee of the 
United States or any of its agencies, whose duties re- 
quire the compilation or report of statistics or infor- 
mation relating to the products of the soil, knowingly 
compiles for issuance, or issues, any false statistics or 
information as a report of the United States or any 
of its agencies, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or 
imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both." (June 25, 
1948, ch .645, sec 1, 62 Stat. 795, 18 U.S.C. 2072.) 

331. Speculative and Nonspeculative Data. a. Defi- 
nition. — Data used by the Board in the preparation of 
the Monthly Crop Report and the Cotton Report shall 
be classified as follows: 

(1) Speculative data. — Speculative data are defined 
to be data relating to corn, wheat, oats, cotton, or soy- 
beans, the assembling and collating of which would 
make it possible for any member, members, or assist- 
ants of the Board approximately to anticipate the 
Board's forthcoming report for the United States on 
the condition, yield, probable production, or farm stocks 
of designated commodities, or the acreage or ginnings 
of cotton. These data shall be deemed to be speculative 
for: 

(a) Corn in Illinois, 'Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, 
Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Da- 
kota, and Wisconsin. 

(b) Winter wheat in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, 
Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, 
Texas, and Washington. 

(c) Spring wheat in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, 
North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington. 

(d) Oats in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, 
Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, 
Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

(e) Cotton in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, 
Oklahoma, and Texas. 

(f) Soybeans in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, 
Minnesota, and Ohio. 

(2) Nonspeculative data. — Nonspeculative data are 
defined to be any statistical data other than the specu- 
lative data defined in paragraph (1) above. 

b. Transmission. 

(1) Field procedure. — Summaries of speculative data 
collected in the field offices, together with recommenda- 
tions of the officer in charge of each such office, shall 
be transmitted by mail or telegraph to the Secretary 
of Agriculture. When transmitted by mail, the sum- 
maries and recommendations shall be forwarded in a 
sealed envelope marked "Special A." When transmitted 
by telegraph, the summary and recommendations shall 
be forwarded in a secret code provided by the Secretary 
of the Board. Nonspeculative data may at all times be 
forwarded directly to the Secretary of the Board by the 
officers in charge of the field offices. 

(2) Departmental procedure. — Immediately upon its 
receipt in the Department Telegraph Office, each tele- 
gram containing speculative crop report data shall be 
placed in a sealed envelope marked "Special A" in the 
Department Telegraph Office and delivered by special 
messenger to the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. 



135 



c. Custody of "Special A" envelopes. — All "Special 
A" envelopes containing speculative crop report data 
received in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture 
shall, immediately upon receipt and without breaking 
the seals thereof, be placed in the locked box provided 
for that purpose in the Office of the Secretary of 
Agriculture. 

d. Opening of "Special A" envelopes. — Immediately 
preceding the convening of the Board on the day a 
report is to be published, the locked box in the Office of 
the Secretary of Agriculture containing the "Special A" 
envelopes shall be opened and the envelopes removed in 
the presence of a designated representative of the Secre- 
tary of Agriculture, the Chairman, Secretary, and one 
other member of the Board, and a special guard pro- 
vided by the General Services Administration. The 
Chairman, Secretary, and other member of the Board, 
accompanied by the guard, shall then proceed directly 
to the Board rooms. 

332. Board Rooms, a. Definition. — The Board rooms 
shall consist of the Board room proper and all other 
rooms occupied during the locked-in session of the 
Board by clerks, stenographers, and others engaged 
in assisting the Board in the preparation of the report. 

b. Safeguards against communication of informa- 
tion. — Previous to the arrival of the Board representa- 
tives and guard with the sealed "Special A" envelopes, 
the Secretary of the Board shall have caused all win- 
dows in the Board rooms to be sealed in such manner as 
to prevent communication between persons within the 
Board rooms and persons outside. Also, previous to the 
arrival, all telephones in the Board rooms and con- 
nected with the central Department telephone switch- 
board shall be disconnected at the central switchboard, 
and any other means of communication from the Board 
rooms shall be similarly disconnected. Immediately after 
the entrance of the Board representatives into the 
Board rooms, with the sealed "Special A" envelopes, 
the guard shall lock all doors leading from the Board 
rooms, and remain on watch until the report is released. 
While on watch, the guard shall not permit any com- 
munication between persons within the Board rooms 
and persons outside except as provided below. The 
guard shall unlock the door only to permit: 

(1) The entrance of: 

(a) The Secretary of Agriculture. 

(b) The Administrator of the Service. 

(c) Officials of the Bureau of the Census who 
cooperate in issuing the Joint Cotton Ginning and 
Production Report. 

(d) Employees of the Service and other persons 
whose presence is required in the preparation of 
the report and who have written permission from 
the Chairman. 

(e) Other officials and employees of the Depart- 
ment having written authority from the Secretary 
of Agriculture, or from the Administrator of the 
Statistical Reporting Service. 

(2) The delivery to the Board rooms of mail, tele- 
grams, written communications, or supplies for use of 
the Board. 

(3) Notification by the Chairman to the guard of 



delay in completion of a Board report (see subpara- 
graph 333d) or by the Chairman or the Secretary of the 
Board to convey emergency instructions essential to 
completion of a report. 
(4) The departure of: 

(a) The Secretary of Agriculture, the Chairman, 
and such other persons as may be designated at the 
time by the Chairman, for the purpose of proceed- 
ing, under guard, to the room provided for the 
release of the report. 

(b) Any person in the case of extreme emer- 
gency, in which event a member of the guard shall 
accompany and remain with such person until the 
release of the report. 

(c) All persons in case of fire or other serious 
emergency. 

333. Approval and Release of Reports, a. Approv- 
al. — Upon the completion of any Board reports specified 
in subparagraph 328a of these regulations, a copy 
must be signed by the Chairman, Secretary, and each 
member of the Board, and approved in writing by the 
Secretary of Agriculture before it is released. The 
Chairman, accompanied by a member of the guard and 
not less than two other persons, shall take copies of the 
approved report from the Board rooms to the release 
room before the time specified for the publication and 
release of the report. 

b. Release officer. — A designated representative of the 
Secretary of Agriculture shall act as release officer and 
shall provide in the release room suitable telegraph and 
telephone facilities for all persons desiring such facili- 
ties for the transmission of the report upon its official 
release. 

c. Procedure. — Upon the arrival in the Board release 
room of the Chairman and persons accompanying him, 
the release officer shall cause all persons other than 
the Chairman to remain within a prescribed area until 
the release of the report, the limits of which area shall 
be not less than 6 feet from the telephones, telegraph 
instruments, and tables or shelves provided for distri- 
bution • of copies of the report. The Chairman then 
shall place copies of the report, face down, beside each 
instrument, and additional copies, face down, upon the 
tables or shelves provided for that purpose. At the 
exact time provided for the official issuance of each 
report, the release officer shall inform those present 
that the report is released to the public and permit 
access to the copies of the report. The release officer 
then shall notify the guard at the door of the Board 
rooms that the report has been released and the guard 
thereupon shall unlock the doors of the Board rooms. 

d. Delay in releasing reports. — In the event that the 
report should not be completed and approved for is- 
suance at the designated time, the Chairman, within 
10 minutes of the time designated for the release of the 
report, shall notify the guard of the time when the 
report will be ready for release. The guard immediately 
shall notify the release officer, who, in turn, shall notify 
all persons who are present in the release room for 
the purpose of receiving the report. In order that tele- 
phone communication with the Board rooms may not 
be reestablished before the crop report is completed and 



136 



released, the release officer also shall notify the em- 
ployee in charge of the central Department telephone 
switchboard of the delay. 

334. Acknowledgement of Regulation. — The De- 
puty Administrator of the Statistical Reporting Serv- 
ice shall cause to be delivered, or exhibited, a copy of 
this regulation to each employee of the Service or other 
person having access to crop report data in advance 
of publication. The Deputy Administrator or an auth- 
orized representative shall obtain from each such per- 
son a certification which shall be an acknowledgement 
that such person has read this regulation and will be 
governed by it. 



CHAPTER 17. COMMISSIONERS AND 
SECRETARIES OF AGRICULTURE 

Commissioners 

Isaac Newton, of Pennsylvania (born in New Jersey) ; 
Commissioner, July 1, 1862 (when Department was 
activated) — June 19, 1867 (died in office); appointed 
by President Lincoln. He had served since the spring 
of 1861 as Superintendent of the Agricultural Divis- 
ion of the Patent Office (Department of Interior). 

Johh W. Stokes, of Pennsylvania (born in New 
Jersey) ; Acting Commissioner, June 20, 1867 — De- 
cember 4, 1867. As Chief Clerk, he was ranking 
officer of the Department. 

Horace Capron, of Illinois (born in Massachusetts) ; 
Commissioner, December 4, 1867 — July 31, 1871; ap- 
pointed by President Johnson. 

Frederick Watts, of Pennsylvania (born in Pennsyl- 
vania) ; Commissioner, August 1, 1871 — June 30, 
1877; appointed by President Grant. 

William Gates LeDuc, of Minnesota (born in Ohio) ; 
Conmissioner, July 1, 1877 — June 30, 1881; ap- 
pointed by President Hayes. 

George Bailey Loring, of Massachusetts (born in 
Massachusetts) ; Commissioner, July 1, 1881 — April 
3, 1385; appointed by President Garfield. 

Norman Jay Colman, of Missouri (born in New York) ; 
Commissioner, April 3, 1885 — February 15, 1889; 
appointed by President Cleveland. 

Secretaries 

Norman Jay Colman, of Missouri (born in New 

York) ; Secretary February 15, 1889— March 6, 1889; 

appointed by President Cleveland. 
Jeremiah McLain Rusk, of Wisconsin (born in Ohio) ; 

Secretary, March 6, 1889 — March 6, 1893; appointed 

by President Harrison. 



Julius Sterling Morton, of Nebraska (born in New 
York); Secretary, March 7, 1893— March 5, 1897; 
appointed by President Cleveland. 

James Wilson, of Iowa (born in Scotland) ; Secretary, 
March 6, 1897— March 5, 1913; appointed by Presi- 
dent McKinley. 

David Fr\nklin Houston, of Missouri (born in North 
Carolina) ; Secretary, March 6, 1913 — February 2, 
1920; appointed by President Wilson. Resigned to 
become Secretary of the Treasury. 

Edwin Thomas Meredith, of Iowa (born in Iowa) ; 
Secretary, February 2, 1920 — March 4, 1921; ap- 
pointed by President Wilson. 

Henry Cantwell Wallace, of Iowa (born in Il- 
linois) ; Secretary, March 5, 1921— October 25, 1924 
(died in office) ; appointed by President Harding. 

Howard Mason Gore, of West Virginia (born in West 
Virginia) ; Secretary, November 22, 1924 — March 4, 
1925; appointed by President Coolidge. Assistant 
Secretary since 1923, he had served as Acting Secre- 
tary following death of Secretary Wallace. 

William Marion Jardine, of Kansas (born in Idaho) ; 
Secretary, March 5, 1925 — March 4, 1929; appointed 
by President Coolidge. 

Arthur Mastick Hyde, of Missouri (born in Mis- 
souri); Secretary, March 6, 1929— March 4, 1933; 
appointed by President Hoover. 

Henry Agard Wallace, of Iowa (born in Iowa) ; Sec- 
retary, March 4, 1933 — September 4, 1940; appointed 
by President Roosevelt. Resigned to run for the Vice 
Presidency; son of former Secretary Henry Cantwell 
Wallace. 

Claude Raymond Wickard, of Indiana (born in In- 
diana) ; Secretary, September 5, 1940 — June 29, 1945; 
appointed by President Roosevelt. Was Under Sec- 
retary at the time of his appointment; resigned to 
become head of Rural Electrification Administration. 

Clinton Presba Anderson, of New Mexico (born in 
South Dakota) ; Secretary, June 30, 1945.— May 10, 
1948; appointed by President Truman. Resigned to 
run for the United States Senate. 

Charles Franklin Brannan, of Colorado (born in 
Colorado) ; Secretary, June 2, 1948 — January 20, 
1953; appointed by President Truman. Was Assistant 
Secretary at the time of his appointment. 

Ezra Taft Benson, of Idaho (born in Idaho) ; Secre- 
tary, January 21, 1953 — January 19, 1961; appointed 
by President Eisenhower. 
Orville Lothrop Freeman, of Minnesota (born in 
Minnesota) ; Secretary, January 20, 1961 — January 
20, 1969; appointed by President Kennedy. 
Clifford Morris Hardin, of Indiana' (born in Indiana) ; 
Secretary, January 21, 1969; appointed by President 
Nixon. 



ftU.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1969 0—312^*63 



137 



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